Catlett Residence Hall evacuated last night after gas leak false alarm, equipment found putting off gas-like odor

Smells of a gas-like odor emitted through the halls of Catlett Residence Hall late last night, causing students to evacuate and stand outside until moved to other buildings. Students returned to the residence hall after the source of the odor, which turned out not to be a gas leak, was identified and facilities managers gave the all-clear.

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Katie Goodale

Catlett Residence Hall is seen on Jan 16, 2019.

Caitlin Crome, News Reporter


During the winter months where temperatures reach below zero, hearing alarms go off late at night is the last thing most students want to hear.

At around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, alarms went off in Catlett Residence Hall because of a suspected gas leak in the building. Students were told to evacuate the building and go outside, with temperatures reaching below zero.

Many students were left wondering what the procedure was during the winter and where they should go, and had to wait while the building was being cleared out.

“Building occupants were evacuated and directed to shelter at Currier and Burge until the situation was resolved,” University of Iowa Media Relations Manager Haley Bruce wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan. ” Protocol during the winter months is that if students need to be evacuated due to an emergency, they will be directed to shelter in the nearest residence hall(s) or building(s).”

However, the suspected leak was a false alarm — the source of the gas-like smell came from a piece of equipment, Bruce said.

“Though a gas leak was originally suspected, the issue was actually related to a piece of equipment putting off a gas-like odor,” Bruce said. “Students were instructed to return to the building as soon as it was confirmed that it was safe to do so.”

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