A few dozen people evacuated Duques Hall early Friday afternoon when fumes from a mechanical room crept into classrooms, causing some students to feel lightheaded and two to receive treatment from EMeRG.
Around 1:20 p.m. Friday, a few students in a psychology class on the first floor told their professor they felt faint and dizzy. After the instructor allowed all her students to exit the building, fifth-year undergraduate student Michael Hochman called 911 on his cell phone.
Hochman told The Hatchet that firefighters who responded to the scene told him the gas in the classroom was carbon monoxide. D.C. Fire Department spokesperson Kathryn Friedman did not say what type of gas had been emitted but said firefighters who arrived at Duques shut off the generator that was emitting the exhaust.
“I was nervous and I said out loud, ‘There is gas in the room and we all need to leave,'” Hockman said. “Then I left and everyone followed.”
Matt Lindsay, GW’s assistant director of Media Relations, said the University doesn’t know why the generator malfunctioned during its weekly maintenance run, but that the incident will be investigated.
“Certainly it’s a concern for us,” Lindsay said. “We’ll look into it to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
The other student treated by EMeRG on Friday, junior Jonathan Syms who was in the same psychology class, said he was angry with GW for the way the incident was handled. Syms said that no alarm notified the class of any fumes.
Syms said, “Luckily our class just decided to leave immediately, but the other classes just stayed there.”