Gas leak evacuates part of campus

Two gas leaks on the perimeter of campus stalled traffic near the Woodland Glen dorms and Alumni Drive on Monday morning.

Students were evacuated from Woodland Glen for a little more than an hour as repairs were made.

Spokesman Joe Best said the Lexington Fire Department received a call to Woodland Glen at about 10:49 a.m. to stand by in case things worsened while Columbia Gas repaired the line.

“My understanding is that construction crews struck the line,” Best said.

UK put out a campuswide alert at about 11:18 that students should avoid the Woodland Glen area. The all-clear was given about an hour later.

About 200 students were evacuated from the Woodland Glen dorms for the duration of the emergency.

“We evacuated the two residence halls probably just a little after 11,” UK police chief Joe Monroe said. “We went into the dorms and pulled the fire alarms.”

Best said the fire department left at about 12:43 p.m.

UK spokeswoman Kathy Johnson confirmed that the crew working in the Woodland area was contracted to UK.

The line was hit as the crew demolished the Strauss Building on Oldham Court, according to Johnson. Columbia Gas arrived at about 11:25 a.m.

The line was capped at about 12:25 p.m., she wrote in an email to the Kentucky Kernel. Limited pedestrian traffic was allowed in the area around the dorms at that time.

All of the streets and buildings around Woodland Glen reopened by 1:20 p.m., Johnson wrote.

Best said the fire department received a near-simultaneous call to Nicholasville Road and Alumni Drive at 11:15 a.m., where a Columbia Gas crew had caused another gas leak while working on a line.

UK did not send out an alert for the second leak, which closed two roads for about an hour.

Johnson said Nicholasville Road was closed in between Cooper and Rosemont, and Alumni Drive was closed between University Drive and Nicholasville beginning at about 1 p.m.

Best said the fire department left Nicholasville Road at about 2:40 p.m.