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Crews reopen streets, ventilate Sellery Hall after gas leak

MADISON, Wis. - Madison fire crews have reopened several downtown streets after they responded to a gas leak at a University of Wisconsin-Madison residence hall Monday afternoon.

Officials said crews responded just after 3 p.m. to reports of a gas leak at Sellery Hall.

“A contractor hit a gas line and cracked a pipe by the gas valve that sits inside the building, so [that] ended up putting gas into our basement,” Mike Kinderman, Assistant Director of Facilities Operations for Housing, said.

Construction workers were working on a new Amazon distribution center. Kinderman said the gas leak shouldn’t be too big of a setback.

“I’m assuming we’ll be able to patch this up in a day or two. I’m assuming we’ll stay on schedule and open some time, I think it’s November,” he said.

Crews originally closed West Johnson Street and northbound Park Street at Dayton Street as they investigated the leak. University officials said 16 people were inside Sellery Hall at the time. They pulled the fire alarm to ensure everyone knew to evacuate.

“We’re quite fortunate. We didn’t have a lot of people in the building,” Kinderman said.

Fire officials said Johnson and Dayton streets were reopened around 4:20 p.m., and crews were starting to ventilate the building. Firefighters worked with Madison Gas and Electric crews to isolate and close off the leak.

Officials said natural air flow inside Sellery Hall brought gas concentration levels down to non-explosive levels. Until then, all bystanders, including firefighters, were instructed to be at least 300 feet from the building.

“[We] clear the streets because it’s very dangerous if you have a natural gas explosion,” Lt. Mike McCartney, Madison Fire Department, said.

UW police said pedestrian and vehicle traffic on Dayton Street was closed and Gordon Commons was evacuated as a precaution.

No injuries were reported.


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