SFA evacuates several buildings following gas leak - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

SFA evacuates several buildings following gas leak

CenterPoint Energy arrived on the scene to plug the ruptured gas line about an hour and half after the accident. (Source: KTRE Staff) CenterPoint Energy arrived on the scene to plug the ruptured gas line about an hour and half after the accident. (Source: KTRE Staff)
SFA students, faculty and staff were alerted of a gas leak via text. (Source: KTRE Staff) SFA students, faculty and staff were alerted of a gas leak via text. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Students in seven nearby buildings were evacuated. Classes will resume Thursday morning. (Source: KTRE Staff) Students in seven nearby buildings were evacuated. Classes will resume Thursday morning. (Source: KTRE Staff)
A Nacogdoches firefighter sprints into action following the accident. (Source: KTRE Staff) A Nacogdoches firefighter sprints into action following the accident. (Source: KTRE Staff)
The ruptured gas line while construction crews were working on the STEM building project. (Source: KTRE Staff) The ruptured gas line while construction crews were working on the STEM building project. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Stephen F. Austin State University evacuated seven buildings Wednesday afternoon. 

A ruptured gas line led to the decision. Classes in those buildings are canceled until Thursday.

The sound of spewing natural gas first alerted construction crews. They were digging with heavy equipment between SFA's business and chemistry buildings on Raguet Street.  

They knew immediately it wasn't going to be a normal work day. 

"As soon as CenterPoint gets here we'll get it plugged,” said Nacogdoches Fire Chief Keith Kiplinger. “Shouldn't take 30 minutes once they get here."

Chief Keith Kiplinger said ruptured gas lines happen about a twice a week for the Nacogdoches Fire Department. Extra precautions are taken in highly populated areas, like the center of the SFA campus. 

"The buildings in the immediate area have been evacuated,” Kiplinger said. “We have a good wind and the natural gas is dissipating at this time. We have firefighters standing by until the threat is over with."

Erring on the side of safety got hundreds of students and professors out of class.

"I was in intro to engineering physics,” said Camilla Rodriguez, an SFA student. “We were just taking notes and a professor came in and told us they were evacuating the building, so our class just got up and left."

The classes are canceled until Thursday. Now university emergency staff access the emergency procedures. 

"When the gas leak occurred, our emergency operation center was activated, and the necessary personnel reported there to communicate the instructions,” said Shirley Luna, SFA’s communications director.

The alert came verbally to departments and through the Jack Alert texts and emails. CenterPoint Energy arrived to plug the line. Workers, students, and staff should return to their normal routine by Thursday.

Construction crews are with the new STEM building project. The accident happened about a block from the building site.  

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