Gas leak evacuates Thurston, Mitchell halls

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A gas leak forced road closures around Thurston and Mitchell halls, disrupting traffic Monday evening. Francis Rivera | Assistant Photo Editor

Updated Nov. 7, 9:07 p.m.

A gas leak evacuated Thurston and Mitchell halls Monday evening, prompting street closures and a temporary shutdown of hot water and heat to the buildings.

D.C. Fire and EMS reported a possible natural gas leak near the residence halls, according to a campus advisory, and residents were directed to the Marvin Center. D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Lon Walls said the leak occurred at Thurston Hall.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said at 8:10 p.m. that there was an issue with heating and hot water to both Thurston and Mitchell halls, adding adding that Facilities was working to fix the problem with D.C. Fire and EMS.

The heat turned back on at 9 p.m., she said.

Two Washington Gas staff members on scene said heat and hot water to Thurston were both temporarily shut down but would be restored later that night.

University spokeswoman Candace Smith said students were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

A University Police officer said 19th Street was shut down along F and G streets. Metropolitan Police officers arrived on scene to direct traffic during the street closures, public information officer Paul Metcalf said. He said the department received a call at 6:15 p.m.

Two D.C. Fire and EMS trucks arrived at 19th and E streets, but the building was not evacuated.

Fire trucks left the scene at about 7:30 p.m. and students were allowed back into the residence halls about five minutes later.

– Chelsea Radler, Paul Blake, Melissa Turley and Allison Elfring contributed to this report.

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