Science Mall evacuated after gas leak near Cunningham Hall

Isabel Kiefer

Destination Kent State attendees evacuated the Science Mall after construction workers hit an underground gas line while digging near Cunningham Hall around 8 a.m.

Kent State Police Department alerted Dominion East Ohio Energy of the leak soon after receiving news from workers that they punctured a gas line. Dominion East Ohio Energy responded about 20 minutes later, turning off the gas.

For the safety of staff and students, Kent State Police required all buildings in the Science Mall to be evacuated immediately. A Flash Alert informed students to stay clear of the area. The advisory lasted for less than 15 minutes.

“We evacuated almost immediately for the safety of everyone,” said Kent State police officer Tricia Knoles. “We did it as a precaution.”

DKS was in the midst of morning activities when the evacuation occurred. FlashGuides, students who assist with incoming students during orientation, led over 200 participants from Henderson Hall across campus to Cartwright Hall, according to emergency management protocol.

The emergency transition was possible because of communication between different departments on campus, said Student Success Programs Director Yvonna Washington-Greer.

“We collaborate with many people across campus,” Washington-Greer said. “Then we have immediate contacts.”

FlashGuide Erin Davis, a junior mathematics major, said she was unsure of what was initially happening during the evacuation.

“At first, we were all confused as to what to do,” Davis said. “It went a lot smoother than I thought.”

Mariah Gibbons, public relations and media specialist for the College of Nursing, said the evacuation was effective.

“I’m surprised how smoothly it went,” Gibbons said. “They actually evacuated very quickly, very efficiently.”

DKS participants returned to the Science Mall for academic advising meetings later that morning after police lifted the evacuation. 

Isabel Kiefer is the dining, housing and DKS reporter, contact her at [email protected].