University of Utah evacuates 2 student housing buildings after gas leak

Published: Friday, March 1 2013 3:05 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 100 residents of University of Utah student housing buildings were evacuated overnight Thursday after a gas leak was detected between two buildings.

The first report came in at 11:30 a.m. from a housing maintenance worker who noticed an unusually strong scent of natural gas, U. Fire Marshal Mike Halligan said. A repair was made, but about 5:30 p.m., another reading determined gas levels were back up.

Crews later confirmed there was a gas leak between two residential housing buildings on a line that served six buildings. Of the 300 people in the buildings, 129 were evacuated overnight, Halligan said.

Students were given the option of staying with family or friends or in another residence hall. All but 35 were able to find a place with family or friends, Halligan said.

"The buildings on the interior were fine all along," he said. "Any time you have natural gas flowing and it's not where you want it to be, you want to make sure it's safe and evaluate the circumstances."

Questar Gas officials responded, made repairs and inspected the rest of the gas line. Students were allowed back into the building around 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Emiley Morgan, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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