Gas leak near Dixie State campus leads to science building evacuation

ST. GEORGE — A broken gas line on 100 South caused the evacuation of the science building at Dixie State University Thursday morning. The leak created a dramatic scene, with gas hissing loudly from the hole and clouds of dust billowing into the air.

A gas leak at 100 S 900 East caused the evacuation of the science building at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, June 16, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
A gas leak at the corner of 100 South and 900 East caused the evacuation of the science building at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, June 16, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

At approximately 8:25 a.m., emergency responders received reports of a severed gas line at the corner of 100 South and 900 East — the site of the Campus View student housing currently under construction — St. George Fire Department Capt. Tyler Talbot said.

Upon arrival, emergency personnel discovered a 2-inch natural gas line had been accidentally cut by a construction crew operating a mini excavator at the site.

The team of four from the Fire Department established a safe perimeter around the scene, with the assistance of the Dixie State Campus Police, who shut down the eastbound lanes of 100 South. Firemen stood close by with fire hoses at the ready. Traffic in the eastbound lanes was diverted for approximately 30 minutes.

Initially, no evacuations were ordered, primarily due to strong winds dispersing the gas, Talbot said.

Crews from Questar Gas work to shut off a gas line on 100 South. A gas leak caused the evacuation of the science building at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, June 16, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
Crews from Questar Gas work to shut off a gas line on 100 South. A gas leak caused the evacuation of the science building at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, June 16, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

However, Dixie State University later detected high enough gas readings in the nearby science building to order it evacuated, Ron Isaacson, assistant director of Dixie State Campus Security, said. The building was evacuated for approximately one hour.

Questar Gas attempted to dig a hole farther down the line in order to shut off the gas, but due to an erroneous placement of the line, the pipe was broken a second time, Talbot said.

After the second line was broken, another crew from Questar Gas arrived and quickly dug another hole in the eastbound lane of 100 South, where they were able to shut off the gas line.

Talbot said the crews did an excellent job making sure the scene was safe.

“We treat them serious, just in case things go wrong,” Talbot said, “but St. George Fire, the contractor and Questar do a good job keeping it safe so it doesn’t become a hazard. But we’re ready in case it does go bad.”

Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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