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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Gas Leak In Roosevelt Threatened Hundreds of Students

    At 8:30 on Friday morning, a 2.5-inch gas line severed at the Roosevelt construction site, where the old Roosevelt Cafe is undergoing a large renovation.

    The fire department was immediately alerted and responded within minutes, said Environmental Health and Safety official Gary J. Kaczmarczyk. Following the incident, the main gas line that supplies the entire West campus was immediately shut by the university to ensure the leak had not spread throughout the rest of the campus.

    Fire marshals quickly determined that the leak had not spread to the residential buildings on the south side of campus, leading to the decision to not evacuate Roosevelt Quad. Kelly, Tabler and Roth were all also checked to ensure that gas had not spread to those quads either.

    The local fire department called in mutual aid to other local departments, and several other trucks responded. ‘This sounded like a pretty serious incident,’ said Kaczmarczyk. ‘The leak could have posed a significant threat to students in the area.’ Kaczmarczyk sites the quick response by the fire department as a key factor in regaining control of the situation quickly without the problem growing much more serious.

    There were no reported injuries as a result of the gas leak, and no classes were canceled or disrupted. Kaczmarczyk said that the university always calls the fire department in these situations, at the very least to have a response team ‘on standby should the leak erupt.’

    Students who live in Roosevelt reported that they were not permitted back inside the building during the morning hours, but according to Kaczmarczyk, there was no direct order to prohibit students from reentering the building, faulting ‘mixed communications’ for the confusion surrounding the safety of the building.

    Traffic at the intersection of Circle Road and Campus Drive was halted, and several other regular roadways and pathways were rerouted by campus police.

    Gas was interrupted for several hours for the entire West campus, affecting heating systems indoors, as well as the kitchens in the dining facilities that were busy cooking for today’s meals. The precaution was taken because officials could not determine which isolated valve near the site controlled the gas in Roosevelt. Gas was restored to campus by 10:30AM.

    The gas leak also resulted in the first wide use of the new campus emergency alert system, which uses text messaging, voice mail and email to alert the campus community about any potential emergencies.

    ‘ According to Kaczmarczyk, the system as a whole performed very well. Some early feedback mentioned receiving repeated messages, and some students reported not getting any alert at all.

    Kaczmarczyk said that some ‘students don’t look at campus email very often,’ but reminded students that they can change their email preferences on SOLAR.

    By 11AM, much of the tension had dissipated. The fire departments had largely left the scene, and much of the confusion had subsided.

    The university police department has started an investigation into the incident as a precautionary measure to prevent future gas leaks that could pose another serious threat to students and staff at Stony Brook.

    According to Kaczmarczyk, the construction in Roosevelt will not be delayed at all by the incident.

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