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No signs of gas leak at Sullivant Hall, says Columbia Gas

A gas leak did not cause the odor that sickened some in Sullivant Hall Tuesday, according to Columbia Gas.

“We are not sure where this odor was coming from,” said Ken Stammen, Columbia Gas of Ohio communications manager, on Wednesday. “But after inspection of the entire building, there were no signs that any gas lines were cracked or broken in any way.”

Columbia Gas checked gas lines at Sullivant Hall, Brenen’s Café, and a few other shops on High Street and found no problems, Stammen said.

Columbus Division of Fire responded to the calls concerning suspected aromas of gas at about 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

The smell of gas was so strong, some faculty members reported headaches, light-headedness and dizziness.

Stammen said unless Columbia Gas is called back to Sullivant Hall, it will not return to do any unexpected surveys of the building to see where the odor originated.

Employees said everything returned to normal today at Sullivant Hall and all traces of the smell are gone.

Faculty and students evacuated the building after the alarm was pulled at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday. Columbus firefighter Bill Ehrgood said since firefighters left so quickly, they were probably not in much danger.

“Even if there is an odor of gas, we have to respond. Since we were only there for a very short period, I don’t think it was anything to be concerned about,” Ehrgood said. “But, better to call us and make sure then just wait to see what happens.” 

Usually when there is a natural gas leak, the smell is “the familiar rotten egg smell,” according to the Ohio Public Utilities Commission website.

The smell on High Street was more of a kerosene smell, faculty agreed when they were standing outside of the building waiting for the firefighters to emerge.

Columbus fire will not investigate the case further unless another call is made, Ehrgood said.

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