Gas Leak Disrupts Classes

The auditorium building was evacuated shortly after 9 a.m. Monday when a construction worker accidentally severed an unmarked gas line behind the auditorium scene shop with the bulldozer he was working with.

Some classes had to be canceled, and students had to be evacuated from the building as a precaution. The Glendale Fire Department responded in minutes to the call. The rupture occurred along an unmarked gas line that runs behind the auditorium scene shop and it is not in any blueprint.

“We have no record of it,” said Vice President of Administrative Services Larry Serot. “We don’t know where it goes or what it does. We think it is probably one of the lines that feed the south gym.”

There was no fire reported as a result of the break, but some classes had to be canceled due to the pungent odor of natural gas that lingered when the leak was shut off. According to Steve White, interim vice president of instructional services, it was at instructors’ own discretion whether or not to resume class after the emergency alert was over.

“Although the gas concentration in the auditorium classrooms is low and not a hazard or health risk, the natural gas smell may be strong in some areas until there is an opportunity to air out,” wrote White in a campus-wide e-mail shortly before 10 a.m. Monday.

“When I came to teach, students were complaining that the smell was so strong,” said music instructor Beth Pflueger, who was teaching a class on the second floor of the auditorium building at the time of the accident.

Facilities reported that the locations of other unknown gas lines, if any, will have to be determined in order to prevent something like this from happening again.
“I smelled gas, and I got scared,” said Glendale Community College student Halen Akbare.

“There were no windows [in the classroom],” said credit ESL instructor Elis Lee. “The smell was very strong, that’s when we were told go get out.”

Classes and other activities in the auditorium building resumed at about 10 a.m. when the Glendale Fire Department gave an “all clear” signal. No injuries were reported.