Berry evacuated after gas leak

by Kathleen McDermott | 1/8/01 6:00am

Hanover emergency crews surrounded Berry Library last Friday night after a leaking propane tank near the now demolished Kiewit Computation Center caused the evacuation of the area.

Despite initial concerns over the containment of the highly flammable gas, the problem was quickly located and the leak was capped. With the gas tank fixed and the potential for an explosion averted, the buildings were re-opened by 7:30 p.m. Security Officer Mike Wilds said.

Safety and Security was alerted at 4 p.m. that debris from the demolition of Kiewit had damaged the valve of an underground gas tank, creating a propane gas leak.

With the Hanover Fire Department called to the scene, the debris was removed and damage assessed, Wilds said.

Although the Fire Department was eventually able to stop the leak and pump the tank empty, Baker and Berry Libraries, Carpenter and Silsby Hall, and the Rockfeller Center were evacuated and secured from 5 p.m. until approximately 7:30, Wilds said.

"The potential for an explosion was somewhat high because at the time we thought it was a 1,000 -gallon tank," Wilds said. It was later discovered that the tank was actually only a 125-gallon tank.

With the problem fixed by the evening's end, no long-term damage was caused by the leak, Wilds said.

Wilds credits the Ski Patrol, who assisted in the evacuation and securing of the buildings Friday evening, as well as the work of the Hanover Fire Department and Johnson and Dix Fuel Company, who worked together in fixing the tank.

Safety and Security officers, led by Wilds, were simply on hand to assist the Fire Department in their work, he said.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!