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Gas leak found in Baxter Hall

Emma Innes


Chrissy Ewald

Managing Editor

A gas leak was discovered in Baxter Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Campus Safety sent out an email at 12:54 p.m. alerting the community about the leak and ordering those still inside to evacuate. Students were also called with a warning to evacuate.

Firetruck near Baxter Hall, next to the theater building. Photo by Chrissy Ewald.

The fire alarm went off for some time, and at least four fire trucks arrived on the scene. The Collegian asked a construction worker on site whether the alarms stopping meant the leak was a false alarm; he laughed and said “definitely not.” Students were seen milling around outside the building, taking pictures and discussing the situation.

Campus Safety will send out another email when it is safe to go inside Baxter.

1:33 PM Correction-

The Collegian had previously stated that the gas leak was due to construction, this has been removed and is waiting to be confirmed.

1:44 PM Update-

As of 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a representative from Willamette’s facilities office said the source of the leak is unknown but being actively investigated. “We were first alerted probably at around a little after noon that there was a gas smell up on the third floor of Baxter, and so we dispatched maintenance over there, and they were the ones that sent the alert to Campus Safety and in turn to the campus at wide that there was a gas leak,” he said. When asked if there was a connection to construction happening on campus, he said, “we do have a contractor on campus working,” but that he did not know if there was any connection between construction and the gas leak.

For the moment, he said “we just don’t want people going into the building until we know that the leak is secured and everything’s been cleared out.”

3:09 PM Update-

In an email to the Willamette community, campus safety has stated that, “Salem Fire has given us the ok to allow people back into the Baxter complex. During maintenance on a boiler in Baxter, a valve malfunction caused the release of gas into the building, setting off the CO2 detectors. The building was cleared to allow the gas to safely disperse. You can now return to the Baxter complex.”

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