Maintenance engineers and firefighters from Columbus Fire and Rescue test a boiler in Mississippi University for Women's Kincannon Hall Wednesday morning. The boiler malfunctioned Tuesday at about 5 a.m. and filled the dorm with gas and carbon monoxide, sending 39 students to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. All the students have been treated and released. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
November 29, 2017 11:11:52 AM
Thirty-nine Mississippi University for Women students were treated and released from Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle Tuesday after a boiler in the basement of a residence hall malfunctioned and filled the building with gas and carbon monoxide.
Students in Kincannon Hall first noticed the smell of gas at about 5 a.m. The residence hall, which university spokesperson Anika Perkins said holds more than 160 students, was evacuated to nearby Stark Recreation Center, and 28 students went to the hospital. MUW Dean of Students Sirena Cantrell stayed with the students at the hospital. More students went to the hospital later in the day.
Firefighters with Columbus Fire and Rescue responded to the scene. According to CFR Public Information Officer Anthony Colom, the gas leak filled the entire building, particularly the first five floors, with carbon monoxide.
All students had been released from the hospital by the afternoon. Responders detected zero levels of carbon monoxide in the hall at 3 p.m.
Perkins said the gas in the building is turned off and that mechanical and maintenance engineers have been testing the boiler and will continue working on it throughout today. The university has set up temporary housing for Kincannon Hall residents as a precautionary measure until the building is declared safe.
Though Kincannon Hall itself was build in 1962, the boiler has been in the basement since 1991, Perkins said. The Dispatch requested the number of buildings on campus that had boilers, but that number was not available by press time.
Perkins said the university will release more information as they learn more about the cause of the malfunction.
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