Gas Leak Shuts Front Gates

WILL ZHU/THE HOYA A gas leak on 37 and O streets caused the Georgetown University Police Department to close down the main gates and Copley Lawn on Monday.

WILL ZHU/THE HOYA
A gas leak on 37 and O streets caused the Georgetown University Police Department to close down the main gates and Copley Lawn on Monday.

The main gates and Copley Lawn were cordoned off with caution tape for about 8 hours yesterday after Washington Gas Light contractors struck a natural gas line while performing excavations in front of the main gate, causing a gas leak.

The university issued a HoyaAlert at 1:43 p.m. urging the community to avoid the intersection of 37th and O Street. The D.C. Fire and EMS Department, Georgetown University Police Department and Washington Gas responded to the incident.

A second HoyaAlert was sent at 9:39 p.m. announcing the gas leak had been repaired.

Workers at the intersection could be seen breaking the pavement and digging a hole in ground, while a strong odor of natural gas was noted by students in the area near Healy and Copley lawns.

Washington Gas Light provides natural gas for customers in the D.C. metro area. The company was unavailable for comment as of press time.

According to Senior Director for Strategic Communications Rachel Pugh, the situation was quickly addressed by emergency crews and the university.

“Washington Gas’ contractor struck the line and reported it immediately to the emergency crews onsite so the response was rapid and quickly plugged the leak,” Pugh wrote in an email to The Hoya.

A GUPD officer on scene said the gas leak posed no imminent danger to students on campus and advised everyone to avoid the area while repairs were in progress.

The Hoya could not reach GUPD for an official statement as of press time.

Despite the proximity of the leak to Alumni Square, Pugh said no students were forced to evacuate and no university operations were impacted.

Residents of the Alumni Square Townhouses reported normal functioning of their gas stoves and heating systems.

“Students were only affected by detours around the repair. Services were not affected,” Pugh wrote.

Students were advised against using entrances close to the main gates, according to Alumni Square Community Director Eileen Rodriguez in an email to all residents of Alumni Square.

Prithish David (MSB ’17) said he first noticed the warning signs on 36th Street, and immediately began to smell the gas as soon as he approached the fenced-off front gates.

“When I walked up here I could smell the weird gas smell,” David said. “It is literally all blocked off and you can’t go anywhere.”

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