Natural gas leak caused by construction workers striking shallow gas line


Workers continue to work on transplanting a tree outside Cunningham Hall on Friday, June 19, 2015. During the transplanting process, workers struck a shallow natural gas line, causing a gas leak that led to the evacuation of the Student Center, Cunningham Hall, Smith Hall and the University Library.

Emily Mills

A natural gas leak between Cunningham Hall and the University Library was caused by construction workers accidentally striking a gas line while attempting to transplant a tree.

“The gas line was unexpectedly shallow,” University Architect Michael Bruder said. Normally, these plastic gas lines are buried about three feet deep, but this line was only buried about one to one-and-a-half feet deep, he said.

Bruder said gas was shut off for the library, Cunningham Hall, Smith Hall and the Student Center, and the buildings were evacuated. A Kent State advisory was sent out asking people to avoid the area.

All of the buildings are now safe to re-enter, Bruder said, and workers are trying to get gas turned on for the four buildings.

“Our highest priority is the Student Center for Dining Services (to be able to prepare food),” he said.

Contact Emily Mills at [email protected].