UConn fire department responds to concurrent calls Tuesday

The UConn fire department responded to a natural gas odor in the Hilltop Complex's Crandall Residence Hall on Tuesday around noon.  (Olivia Stenger/The Daily Campus)

University of Connecticut Fire Department responded to two concurrent emergencies on Tuesday that required assistance from Willimantic, Willington and Coventry Fire Departments.

UConn Fire Department received a call shortly before noon on Tuesday reporting a natural gas odor in the Hilltop Complex’s Crandall Residence Hall. Initial air testing showed unusual- but not immediately hazardous- readings, therefore the building was evacuated while further investigations were conducted, said university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.

“To support the on-scene operations, Willimantic Fire Department, Coventry Fire Department and an ambulance from Willington were requested to assist as a precaution. Members of UConn Police, Facilities, Transportation Services and Residential Life were requested as well,” Reitz said.

While subsequent air testing showed normal readings, occupants remained evacuated while crews verified the safety and functioning of the building.

While the incident at Crandall was active, UConn Public Safety Communications Center- already handling increased activity- received a separate call around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon that a person in a Chemistry Building lab had splashed a small amount of a chemical into his or her eye. This required dispatching more UConn Fire Department personnel and sending a fire truck and ambulance to the Chemistry Building.

Willimantic Fire Department’s truck and Willington’s ambulance were re-directed there to assist the student in the lab, while the Coventry Fire Department covered the fire station and other UConn crews remained at the evacuated dorm, Reitz said.

“The person at the chemistry lab was taken to Windham Hospital as a precaution, but is expected to be fine. No chemicals were spilled and that building wasn’t evacuated, and the scene was cleared around 1:00 p.m on Tuesday,” she said.

No injuries or illnesses were reported at the Crandall dorm, which was reopened shortly after 1:00 p.m on Tuesday as well.

“The UConn Fire Department is grateful to the Willimantic, Willington, and Coventry departments for their quick assistance, and to students and others on campus who were patient and supportive during the disruptions of the two calls,” Reitz said.


Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.