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North Campus hot water, heating restored after gas leak

30 p.m., temporarily closing Lane Avenue between High Street and Neil Avenue. Hot water and heat returned to the affected buildings late Thursday morning.

Heating and hot water returned to affected North Campus dorms and buildings late Thursday morning after a broken gas line was repaired.
An OSU contractor performing tests for a “geotechnical drilling project” near a natural gas regulator on Lane Avenue broke the gas line, said Dave Isaacs, spokesman for Student Life. The line broke at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“They were testing for geothermal today, so we knew they’d be drilling. But they somehow messed it up,” said Stephanie Giese, OSU employee and resident of a university-owned apartment building on Lane Avenue.
Jones Tower resident and first-year in civil engineering Nick Burt said he showed up on the scene right after the line broke.
“I saw the fire trucks racing in,” Burt said. “I went outside, and one of the cops said that they had broken a gas line. I could smell the natural gas.”
Natural gas is odorless and colorless, but utilities add strongly-scented chemical compounds for safety.
“Columbia Gas worked through the night and finished repairing the line Thursday morning,” Isaacs said. “After safety testing was completed, service was restored building-by-building in the affected area.”
Service was restored to all buildings by 10:45 a.m. Thursday, though the Fresh Express dining location in North Commons was still serving a limited menu at noon. The Traditions dining hall in North Commons offered a continental breakfast in the morning, but had hot food for lunch.
North Commons and Raney and Royer commons were affected by the gas-line break,  as well as all North Campus residence hall excluding Neilwood Gables and the Lane Avenue Residence Hall. The affected buildings lost heating and hot water as a result of the Wednesday break.
“I didn’t really notice, except for taking a shower (Wednesday),” said Julianna Hofmann, an English major living in Haverfield House. “I had to turn it all the way to the hot.”
Burt said he showered early Wednesday, just in case.
“My room was a lot colder this morning,” Burt said.
The RPAC was available to students who wanted to take a hot shower Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Isaacs said.
A fire alarm in Nosker House led to the evacuation of about 200 residents Thursday at about 12:40 a.m., however the incident was not connected to the gas-line damage that had occurred hours before.
“It was not related to the gas leak. A smoke detector set off the alarm, but there was no fire,” Isaacs said. Nosker residents were evacuated to Royer Commons for about 30 minutes while the Columbus Division of Fire and OSU staff made sure the building was safe for residents.

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