Janesville72.4°

Odor leads to another BTC evacuation

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Gazette staff
February 25, 2012
— Blackhawk Technical College’s main campus was evacuated for 30 minutes Friday morning for a natural gas leak. No one was reported injured.

The evacuation is the fourth this school year for natural gas odors.


A contractor was doing “routine maintenance on heating and cooling equipment” in a boiler room in the north wing of the main building when the leak occurred Friday morning, said BTC spokesman Len Walker.


The work “resulted in an air lock within the gas lines. The contractor bled the line, releasing gas into the boiler room,” according to a memo sent to staff from Renea Ranguette, vice president for finance and operations. “The gas odor resulted in the sounding of the alarm and evacuation of the building.”


The district’s administrative center, which is in a separate building, also was evacuated, Walker said.


It was not clear who pulled the fire alarm about 10:30 a.m. Students and staff returned to the buildings at 11 a.m.


Town of Beloit firefighters turned off the gas and checked to make sure the gas was below explosive concentration, Capt. Emett Harold told the Gazette.


Harold said the workers were purging a gas line, which caused gas to vent into the air in the building.


The college announced at the end of December that the problems and complaints about gas odors had led them to revise reporting procedures and consider installing a gas-sensing system.



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