Rogers on lockdown after suspected gas leak

Campus police evacuated students and faculty from Rogers Science and Health Building during night classes Monday, as Queens police and Charlotte firefighters investigated a suspected gas leak. The threat appeared to be mainly over Monday night. The building is currently on lockdown as a safety precaution, campus police officer David Pressley said.

He said he was not sure whether classes in Rogers would resume as normal tomorrow morning, adding that students will be notified by email if the building is still on lockdown tomorrow.

A Charlotte fire truck prepares to leave Queens at about 8:50 Monday night. Eliza Wireback | The Queens Chronicle

A Charlotte fire truck prepares to leave Queens at about 8:50 Monday night.

Pressley said Queens police received word of a gas smell at around 7:30 p.m., when a professor leaving the building noticed a strong stench outside.

The odor came from the building’s boilers, which shut themselves down when a malfunction occurs, Pressley said. After shutting down, the boilers then expelled the gas outside of the building, as they should have in that situation, he said. Mechanics had been working in the building that day, he said, but he could not confirm that they were working on the boilers.

Firefighters worked their way through the building with what Pressley called “sniffers” — handheld objects that monitor an area’s gas levels. Pressley said firefighters did not find high gas levels, indicating the boilers only temporarily caused the gas odor outside.

At around 8:45 p.m., firefighters, campus police, Piedmont Natural Gas workers and Queens mechanics were still in the building, according to Pressley. Piedmont Natural Gas workers were there, he said, to ensure there was no oxygen displacement within the building. Firefighters remained on scene as a safety precaution, he said, adding that Queens maintenance workers were continuing to work on the boilers.

Queens campus police posted this sign on Rogers' doors Monday night. Eliza Wireback | The Queens Chronicle

Queens campus police posted this sign on Rogers’ doors Monday night.

Five minutes later, the last of the fire trucks and a Piedmont Natural Gas truck appeared to leave the scene.

Campus police were not available for further comment.

This is a developing story. Check back tomorrow for updates.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.