This review will include facilities and processes, procedures, and training. You will see in the following paragraphs the university has already made changes to ensure a timely and proper response in the future.
The university has installed carbon monoxide detectors in all residence halls that did not have them previously. Written procedures have been posted for all battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors. In the event that a carbon monoxide detector alarms, you are to pull the fire alarm, immediately exit the building, and call 911.
The university has retained the services of an independent mechanical engineering firm to review these facilities and to make recommendations regarding permanent protective measures. The university will receive recommendations regarding the installation of appropriate permanent protective measures and will install the necessary equipment.
Procedures and Timeline
The university has also commenced a review of the university’s police and housing departments related to their training and emergency response action plans as they relate directly to the incident. We have determined that an initial report of a gas smell was reported late Monday night, November 27, and was not properly handled. The next report was made early Tuesday morning, November 28, and resulted in university police evacuating the building and notifying Columbus Fire and Rescue who detected carbon monoxide in the building.
Safety remains the university’s top priority. While immediate improvements have been made to Kincannon Hall’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system designed to eliminate the ability of carbon monoxide to enter the building, our maintenance technicians and engineers continue to assess our systems campus-wide for improvements. The review will also improve our awareness and response to emergency situations.
The university will continue to provide updates by email and postings to the university’s webpage. The updates will most likely lag the current actions being taken because those who are working on the corrective actions are also responsible for composing the updates. Every effort will be made to keep the campus informed of all actions taken in a timely manner.
UPDATE 11/30 5:00 p.m.:Kincannon Hall has been deemed safe for operation, and students were able to return at 3:45 p.m. today.
Columbus Fire and Rescue and MUW personnel have conducted carbon monoxide monitoring procedures since Tuesday, Nov. 28 and have concluded that there were zero levels of carbon monoxide detected in Kincannon Hall at each reading.
During the initial mechanicals system assessment, all boiler inspection certifications were examined and all are current. In addition, maintenance and mechanical engineers, from both on and off campus, and university staff have worked around the clock to assess equipment and to ensure students’ safety.
Campus efforts have been prioritized with a focus on students first, facilities and then evaluation. We anticipate the evaluation phase to be ongoing and thorough. As part of our initial review, the university has determined that there was a breakdown within the university police department’s emergency response communications. The university continues its assessment into understanding how this incident occurred and how we can improve our communication and response to safety issues.
Carbon monoxide detectors are in every residence hall on campus. Permanent protective measures will be implemented for all residence halls.
UPDATE 11/29 5:20 p.m.: Since Tuesday, Nov. 28, a total of 41 students have been evaluated at local hospitals.
Temporary housing is in place for Kincannon Hall residents and will remain in place through this evening. Shuttles are available to students.
Students who have received medical treatment have been provided with information so that they should not have any out-of-pocket medical expenses. If a student has a concern about medical expenses, they should call (662) 329-7127.
Boiler operational testing has been conducted with consultation with mechanical and maintenance specialists. Consultation with our mechanical engineer is ongoing. A follow up onsite mechanical assessment was conducted this afternoon.
Assessments and corrective measures will continue throughout the process.
The university is discussing permanent protective measures and installing temporary protective measures until the permanent ones can be implemented.
Columbus Fire and Rescue and MUW personnel have conducted several carbon monoxide monitoring procedures and concluded that there is no carbon monoxide in the building.
Campus efforts have been prioritized with a focus on students first, facilities and then evaluation.
Students are expected to return to Kincannon Hall tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 30.
UPDATE 11/29 11:40 a.m.: The following timeline of events was released at a media briefing Wednesday morning.
Timeline of Events as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28
9 a.m.– McCain engineer contacted
3 p.m.– Air Control Technician arrives on campus; remains on campus until 8 p.m.
3 p.m. – Columbus Fire and Rescue using carbon monoxide and other element detector scanned all five floors of Kincannon Hall; zero levels of detection.
5 p.m.– McCain engineer arrives on campus. Leaves campus at 9 p.m.
4:15 p.m. – All Kincannon Hall residents met with Dean of Students to update and inform students
4:15 -10 p.m. – Kincannon Hall was open for students
6 p.m.– Shuttles began running to temporary housing
9 p.m.– Kincannon Hall walked through and cleared by MUW.
10 p.m.– Kincannon closed to all students. Shuttles stopped. All students who were unaccounted for were called.
10 p.m. – Boiler testing begins. Boilers run until 8 a.m.
Midnight – Columbus Fire and Rescue test Kincannon. Zero levels found.
Midnight – Rooms checked at temporary housing. All 101 students scheduled to stay at hotel are present at hotel.
6:45 a.m.– Shuttle begins running back to campus.
8 a.m. – Boilers turned off and smoke test performed. Repeated carbon monoxide test. Zero levels found.
UPDATE 11/29 8:40 a.m.: The total number of students who went to the hospital for evaluation on Tuesday was 39. All students were released.
Testing will continue today to determine the root of the cause of the apparent boiler misfire.
We will continue to share information as we know more.
UPDATE 11/28 5:50 p.m.: On Tuesday, Nov. 28, an apparent boiler misfire occurred in Kincannon Hall. All students in Kincannon Hall were evacuated to Stark Recreation Center at approximately 5 a.m.
Initially, 28 students were transported to the local hospital for evaluation. Six more students were taken to the hospital later in the day, bringing the total to 34. All students have been released.
An official from Columbus Fire and Rescue confirmed that carbon monoxide was detected. As of 3 p.m. this afternoon, zero levels of carbon monoxide were detected.
Testing of the boiler system by mechanical and maintenance engineers is underway and will continue through tomorrow [Wednesday, Nov. 29].
Temporary housing arrangements for students have been made as a precautionary measure until the investigation is complete and the building is deemed safe for operation.
UPDATE 11/28 1:30 p.m.: All students taken to the hospital have been released.
ORIGINAL STATEMENT 11/28 9:41 a.m.: Early Tuesday morning, an apparent boiler misfire occurred in Kincannon Hall. Students in Kincannon Hall were evacuated to Stark Recreation Center at approximately 5 a.m.
Twenty-eight students were transported to the local hospital for evaluation. All of the students taken to the hospital were reported to be responsive and alert.
Local and campus emergency responders arrived at the scene to assist with the incident.
The cause of the apparent boiler misfire is still under investigation.
Any students who feel ill should immediately report to the MUW Health Center to be assessed.
Additional information will be released as it becomes available.