Dorm evacuated after Miami student’s carbon monoxide detector sounds

Miami University officials say a student's carbon monoxide detector's alarm led to the recent evacuation of Hillcrest Hall residence building on the school's Western Campus. No one was injured but 250 resident students had to temporarily move to other buildings while school facilities crews found and repaired the gas leak. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)
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Miami University officials say a student's carbon monoxide detector's alarm led to the recent evacuation of Hillcrest Hall residence building on the school's Western Campus. No one was injured but 250 resident students had to temporarily move to other buildings while school facilities crews found and repaired the gas leak. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

Credit: Scott Kissell

Hall was cleared when incident happened Nov. 18; residents have since returned

OXFORD — A student’s own carbon monoxide detector alarm led to the evacuation recently of one of Miami University’s student residence halls, said school officials.

Miami officials said they have since fixed the source of the potentially deadly gas leak in the Hillcrest Hall residence building but not before its detection forced 250 students out on Nov. 18 and into other campus housing.

The hall, which is on Miami’s western campus in Oxford, was temporarily closed as campus facility crews searched and found the source of the leaking gas — which is odorless and otherwise undetectable to humans.

Miami officials said in a released statement: “The source of the carbon monoxide was ultimately identified as exhaust from a hot water heater that is used to heat the water for showers and faucets.”

“Under some conditions, the exhaust was pulled back into the building from outside through small openings in the structure of the building, which have been repaired. Both Miami’s physical facilities staff and the Oxford Fire Department have tested the building multiple times and have found no remaining carbon monoxide,” said school officials.

The incident prompted the inspection of all other Miami buildings, officials said.

“We are in the process of inspecting all other residence halls on campus; thus far, no other issues have been discovered.”

The school’s Thanksgiving break runs from 10 p.m. Tuesday with classes resuming Monday, Nov. 29.

“We have installed temporary carbon monoxide detectors in Hillcrest Hall and in an abundance of caution are determining how best to install them in all halls as a permanent system. We will provide additional information and an update on our corrective actions in future communications,” said officials.

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