Construction Forces Evacuation

By Ian A. Palko Hoya Staff Writer

Workers, during the “utility relocation phase” of the Southwest Quadrangle project, broke through a natural gas pipeline near Village C West on Monday afternoon. The resulting leak caused the evacuation of New South, Village C, Harbin, New North, Old North and, eventually, the Healy building for safety reasons.

Construction equipment digging through the surface of Tondorf Drive at the corner of Village C West near Harbin hit the pipeline just after 12:30 p.m. and strong gas fumes could be smelled throughout the Village C West complex soon after. The complex was evacuated along with New South at about 12:30 p.m. Department of Public Safety officers directed students out towards the Dahlgren Quadrangle and Healy Lawn, then pulled fire alarms in Harbin, Old North, and New North. Gas fumes encroaching on Dahlgren Quadrangle forced students out towards Healy Lawn and the eventual evacuation of the Healy Building.

Washington Gas, the district’s major natural gas provider, arrived and capped the broken pipe within 30 minutes of the evacuations.

Students returning from Easter break were forced to exit cabs and park at the far end of Lot 3 and walk along the edge of the parking lot to avoid the leak.

Students were allowed back into the buildings about two hours after the evacuations.

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