BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University officials re-routed traffic on Rivers Street and evacuated one campus building for about two hours Wednesday night after a university police officer detected a natural gas leak.
According to the university’s Chief of Police Andy Stephenson, Appalachian State University police officer Sgt. David Proffitt detected a natural gas leak in the area of Katherine Harper Hall while on routine patrol.
“App State Police and Boone Fire Department responded quickly, and Harper Hall was evacuated as a precaution,” said Stephenson.
As safety evaluations were taking place in the area, emergency crews closed Rivers Street between Stadium Drive and Blowing Rock Road in both directions.
Stephenson said personnel from Frontier Gas identified a relief valve that had activated on a natural gas system and successfully stopped the leak at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Campus was notified just before 8:00 p.m. once emergency personnel determined the location of the leak and assessed the situation. Just before 9:30 p.m., emergency personnel advised “all clear.”
No damage or injuries resulted from the leak, and no other leaks were detected in the area. Investigating crews did not determine any additional evacuation needs for campus or surrounding areas, but several other buildings in the nearby area were investigated as a precaution.
Stephenson indicated crews will remain in the area tonight to continue to monitor the situation as an additional precaution.
Throughout the duration of the incident, members of campus were alerted to avoid the area and received regular updates via the university’s emergency messaging system, AppState-ALERT.
Jason Marshburn, director of environmental health, safety and emergency management, stressed the importance of the university’s emergency messaging system. “In the event of any event that might put members of the university community in danger, the university emergency management protocol is to notify campus quickly and post updates on appstatealert.com,” said Marshburn.
The university remained under normal operating conditions during the incident.
AppState-ALERT is the Appalachian State University 24/7 emergency messaging system. Using a combination of text messaging, voice messaging, the siren warning system, email and web technologies, AppState-ALERT is designed to provide Appalachian students, faculty and staff members with timely information in the event of a campus emergency. Cell phone text and voice messages will only be sent by the University when an emergency exists that is considered an "imminent threat." An "imminent threat" is defined as a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the life safety of the campus community. Learn more at https://emergency.appstate.edu/appstate-alert.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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