Managing Executive Editor
Students and professors had to evacuate classrooms in Parker and Morrison Hall after master alarms detected an “odor of gas”, according to Keene Fire Department Chief Mark Howard.
“I was on the second floor in Morrison when we heard the alarms go off. We didn’t know what was happening then there was this horrible gas smell and then the fire trucks showed up and asked if anyone felt sick from the smell,” KSC senior Andrea Dimauro said.
Another student, sophomore Andrew Browsky said, “It smelt like propane or something. I could smell it walking over from the library.”
However, the smell wasn’t gas or propane at all. According to Physical Plant Supervisor Bill Rymes the smell came from 8,500 gallons of number six fuel oil that was being delivered to holding tanks near the Fiske Quad.
Rymes said when the fuel is being transferred from the delivery truck to the tanks there is a, “displacement of air” which is vented through a pipe near the boiler plant. Due to windy weather conditions the air vented from the pipe traveled across the quad toward the classrooms.
Howard said when the fire department arrived there were eight people who had been evacuated from the buildings who said they weren’t feeling well, but there were no injuries or need for ambulance transportation.
Rymes said that usually the fuel deliveries on campus are done between 6-7 a.m. and that today there was a miscommunication with the supplier on delivery time.
“Since the delivery was done at a time where more people on campus the smell was more noticeable. I understand how students mistook the smell for gas,” Rymes said.
After the fire department cleared the buildings for students and faculty to resume class, the fire department said that they would be back with a follow up visit.
“The fire prevention bureau will be following up with the college because similar incidents have happened recently and we want to find a solution to them. Even if it’s just looking into things like if delivery times have changed,” Howard said.
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