Appalachian State University officials re-routed traffic on Rivers Street and evacuated one campus building for about two hours Wednesday night after a university police officer detected a natural gas leak.

According to the university’s Chief of Police Andy Stephenson, Appalachian State University police officer Sgt. David Proffitt detected a natural gas leak in the area of Katherine Harper Hall while on routine patrol.

“App State Police and Boone Fire Department responded quickly, and Harper Hall was evacuated as a precaution,” said Stephenson.

As safety evaluations were taking place in the area, emergency crews closed Rivers Street between Stadium Drive and Blowing Rock Road in both directions.

Stephenson said personnel from Frontier Gas identified a relief valve that had activated on a natural gas system and successfully stopped the leak at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Campus was notified just before 8:00 p.m. once emergency personnel determined the location of the leak and assessed the situation. Just before 9:30 p.m., emergency personnel advised “all clear.”

No damage or injuries resulted from the leak, and no other leaks were detected in the area. Investigating crews did not determine any additional evacuation needs for campus or surrounding areas, but several other buildings in the nearby area were investigated as a precaution.

Stephenson indicated crews remained in the area overnight to continue to monitor the situation as an additional precaution.

Throughout the duration of the incident, members of campus were alerted to avoid the area and received regular updates via the university’s emergency messaging system, AppState-ALERT.

Jason Marshburn, director of environmental health, safety and emergency management, stressed the importance of the university’s emergency messaging system.

“In the event of any event that might put members of the university community in danger, the university emergency management protocol is to notify campus quickly and post updates on appstatealert.com,” said Marshburn.

The university remained under normal operating conditions during the incident.

Article Courtesy of Appalachian State University