By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~
While some students enjoyed the free time on the Feb. 16 snow day, others were evacuated from their apartments when a carbon monoxide leak occurred in parts of University Station.
Firefighters detected high levels of carbon monoxide in the afternoon of Feb. 16 and evacuated students from the second- floor apartments in Building 2. Firefighters told students in the third-floor apartments to stay in their rooms.
Meghan Burge, a University Station resident, was in her third- floor apartment when she was notified of the leak.
“I knew nothing of the leak until a firefighter knocked on the apartment door, wearing a gas mask,” Burge said. “He told us that there was a leak from a generator on the bottom floor of the building and that levels of carbon monoxide were very high on the first and second floors. I asked what was being done about the situation and he said that residents … on the third floor … were to remain in their rooms with the door closed until further notified.”
Firefighters returned to Burge’s room roughly 10 minutes later to check carbon monoxide levels. According to Burge, they detected abnormal CO levels but assured her she would be safe in her room.
Other residents, however, claimed that they received conflicting instructions between the firefighters and University Station’s management.
“A friend who was in the apartment at the time called the management office and was told that we should come to the clubhouse in the main building to wait out the situation and that it was fine to leave the building,” Burge said. “This is in direct contrast to the firefighters telling us to shelter in place. We heard nothing official from management until about three hours later, when they told us it was fine to re-enter the building. We never officially heard from them that there even was a leak to begin with,” Burge said.
Julie Becker, Burge’s roommate, was not in the room when the leak occurred but only heard about the hazard from her roommates.
“The only information received by management was an email stating it was okay to go back in the building without any explanation as to what happened,” Becker said. “The only way I would’ve known about the leak was via my roommates. Management did not provide any information about the leak in the email, so I might not have known anything at all.”
The Newswire reached out to University Station’s management for comment, but since the leak occurred in Building 2 – which houses the retail space – they stated that they did not have much information about the incident.
“Unfortunately, I do not have a great amount of detail on the incident as the leak actually occurred in the retail space,” Kathleen Murphy, leasing manager, said in an email.
“We do not have any gas utilities in the residential space, everything is electric and gas leaks are not possible in that sense as far as our space goes,” Murphy said.
University Station is a 20-acre mixed use apartment complex that includes 120 residential units, with 480 beds. It also serves as retail and office space.