Natural gas leak shuts down White and Moulton halls

Alexandra Golden, Assigning Editor

The entrance to White Hall, which was temporarily closed on Thursday, March 3, 2022 due to a suspected gas leak. (Alexandra Golden)

Editor’s Note: The following story was updated to reflect recent developments in the gas leaks in White and Moulton Halls as of Friday, March 4, 2022.

Public safety departments and the gas company assessed the natural gas leak near White Hall on the Kent Campus, according to an update from the KSU Advisory. Normal activities and classes in White Hall and Moulton Hall will resume at the beginning of regular hours on Friday, March 4.

All activities and classes in White Hall and Moulton Hall were canceled due to a natural gas leak Thursday, according to a KSU Advisory.

“We responded to White Hall, the parking lot area, for a smell of natural gas. We also got reports of the odor of natural gas in Moulton Hall,” said David Moore, fire department captain for Kent’s Station 1. “So both halls were evacuated, and we cleared them.”

Katie Brant, a sophomore early childhood education major, was in her class on the third floor of White Hall when she smelled the natural gas around 4:30 p.m.

“We were kinda confused because our alarms are going off,” Brant said. “So we weren’t sure if it was a fire or if it was just a leak.”

An alarm went off that had the same volume as a fire alarm, but with a different pattern, said Cady Newman, senior athletic training major and College of Education, Health and Human Services tutor.

“There was just an alarm bell that just kept going off,” Newman said. “I knew it wasn’t a fire alarm, and I knew it wasn’t a tornado, but I had no idea what it was.”

The person working the desk at the EHHS Tutoring Center on the second floor went across the hall and was told to leave the building, she said. But they did not evacuate since no one really knew what was going on.

The team did not evacuate the building until Newman’s boss came in and told them to grab their belongings and leave. Once they left the building, they were met with police officers and firefighters. 

“We just waited outside for a while, and then one of the firemen came out of the building and told us that we probably wouldn’t be allowed back in the building for the rest of the day,” Newman said.

The fire department has not yet identified the source of the leak, but Dominion East Ohio Gas is in the area looking for the cause as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Moore said.

Dominion East Ohio Gas nor the Kent Fire Department were able to find or confirm a gas leak on campus Thursday, said Tricia Knoles, community resource officer for Kent State Friday. Neither group found any measurable amounts of natural gas in the building or area.

Dominion checked the gas lines on Terrace Drive and on East Main Street and could not find anything, Knoles said. There are no gas lines that run along or into Moulton or White halls since they are heated with steam.

Alexandra Golden is an Assigning Editor. Contact her at [email protected].