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Three ULV buildings evacuated by gas leak Wednesday

On Wednesday a contractor searching for a water line caused a gas line to burst behind Leo Hall. Southern California Gas Company employees started to dig using a hydraulic shovel attached to the back of their truck and finished the digging manually. Watching over the work at the north end of the alley at Second Street is Campus Safety and Transportation Director Michael Nunez. The accident, which closed Leo Hall for several hours, was repaired by 3 p.m. / Zachary Horton

Branden del Rio
Editor in Chief

Allison Lavelle
Staff Writer

At approximately 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday Leo Hall, the Barkley Building and the Barkley Annex were evacuated after the contractor working on renovations to Leo Hall hit the natural gas main line behind the building. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

The La Verne Fire Department and the Gas Company were called to the site and the perimeter of the building was blocked off with caution tape.

“The gas is being vented (out of the building) and the fire department is here to wash it down and make sure it doesn’t accumulate,” said Mike Nunez, director of Campus Safety and Transportation, Wednesday at the scene.

The surrounding buildings were evacuated at 1:35 p.m.

“They knocked on the doors and said ‘Come on out,’” said Veronica Runnels, assistant professor of education who was working in the Barkley Building when it was evacuated.

Runnels and several of her colleagues stood in front of the Barkley Building waiting to be allowed back inside.

At 2 p.m. the heavy scent of natural gas lingered in the air on all sides of the building, especially on the east side where the leak originated.

Those who walked by the alley could see the condensation released by the pipe leaking out into the air.

“They are getting ready to clamp the pipe and once they cut it off they can go ahead and repair it,” Nunez said.

People would not be in immediate danger according to Nunez as long as the gas was not allowed to accumulate.

Nunez said the Housing Department was also alerted about the leak in the event that the gas accumulated and endangered residents in the Oaks.

Associate Vice President for Facility & Technology Services Clive Houston-Brown sent an email and a notice popped up on the ULV website to alert the campus about the leak.

Just after 3 p.m., Houston-Brown sent another email that said that the Gas Company was able to seal the leak and that the three buildings were safe to occupy again.

Branden del Rio can be reached at

Allison Lavelle can be reached at

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