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Propane spill causes fire at Lane Avenue Residence Hall

A sudden break in a hose connected to a propane tank was responsible for a fire at Lane Avenue Residence Hall on Ohio State’s campus Dec. 13.

OSU officials told The Lantern while workers from the roofing contractor were working on the lower roof area on the north side of the building, one of the workers knocked over a propane tank, causing the hose connection to break at about 10 a.m.

The contractor, K & W Roofing based in Pataskala, Ohio, did not answer calls from The Lantern.

Scott Conlon, OSU project manager, described how the fire broke out.

“This caused propane gas to spill across the roof and when the vapors came in contact with the flame, a fire erupted,” he said.

Conlon denied previous reports that a propane tank exploded on top of the roof.

“Propane gas was spilled as I said,” Conlon said. “The tank did not explode.”

No injuries were reported by any of the workers involved, he said. Students and staff of the residence hall were evacuated when OSU personnel pulled the fire alarm.

“After Columbus Fire, OSU Emergency Management and Fire Prevention personnel and OSU Student Life personnel investigated and determined the fire to be out, there was no further risk to building occupants and everyone was allowed to return to their rooms and work areas,” Conlon said.

The fire was extinguished before the Columbus Division of Fire arrived on site, according to the report.

“One of the workers observing from ground level called 911,” Conlon said. “The workers on the roof quickly grabbed their fire extinguishers that were on site and extinguished the fire prior to Columbus Fire Department arriving.”

Conlon said the only damages, both long- and short-term, were taken care of by the roofing contractor that day.

“The contractor replaced the damaged section of the roof that day,” he said.

Colon said the incident was of no cost to the university, because the contractor was responsible for the damage.

“As the contractor was responsible for the damage, there was no cost to the university,” Conlon said. “The contractor made the repairs at their own cost.”

Fire prevention specialist for OSU Fire Prevention, Chuck Scheerle, whose name was on the Columbus Fire Department incident report, did not respond to The Lantern’s voicemails and calls.

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