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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gas leak ‘handled correctly’

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By Juan Labreche / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Lt. Ray Gutierrez exits the SUB Tuesday afternoon after he and other firefighters responded to an alarm in the building that was set off by a gas leak. Gutierrez said that when firefighters arrived, people had already begun evacuating the building and that the leak was caused by a disconnected fryer “quick connect.”

news@dailylobo.com

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the SUB in response to a gas leak in at Garcia’s Kitchen on Tuesday.

UNMPD Operations Lieutenant Trace Peck said the leak was caused by a disconnected hose from one of the appliances in the restaurant.

Peck said officers arrived at the scene at about 3 p.m.

Peck said the SUB’s fire alarm alerted people inside the building about the leak. He said that in addition to firemen, eight police officers immediately made public announcements and evacuated people.

Peck said this is the first gas leak he has encountered at UNM since he began working here three years ago.

“It (the leak) was handled correctly. Any gas leak if left unattended can be dangerous.”

Outtakes caterer Steve Hempstead said he was in the store’s kitchen when he heard the news.

“Somebody just said it in the kitchen, ‘There’s a gas leak,’ and we all emptied out of the kitchen,” he said. “It comes in a bad time.”
UNM student Sebastian Holguin said that although employees in the SUB forced people to leave the building before police arrived, students had no clue about what was going on.

Holguin said he was inside the building when news of the leak spread throughout the building, and that he exited the SUB as soon as he could.

“I just left because it was getting crazy,” he said. “Who knows what could have happened?”

Peck said the leak did not do any damage to Garcia’s Kitchen or to the SUB. He said that it is safe for people to enter the SUB, and that the leak will not have any harmful aftereffects.

Peck said gas leaks are rare on campus but not unheard of.

“It’s one of those things that can happen anytime you have restaurants,” he said. “We’ll just respond to them accordingly.”

The manager of Garcia’s Kitchen declined to comment on the incident.