Gas leak at Green Lane building causes personnel evacuation


Construction workers wait outside the evacuation site
Photo Credit: Keanu Austin

By Sonia Aquije and Keanu Austin

A gas leak at the construction site of Kean University’s Green Lane building at the corner of North Avenue and Morris Avenue resulted in an evacuation of construction workers on Sept. 18.

“A two-inch gas line was ruptured during construction,” said Captain McClung, the acting battalion chief of Union’s fire department. The subsequent gas leak caused a strong odor that was noticeable all the way down Lehigh Avenue.

Construction workers stood on the sidewalk opposite the construction site as responding Union firefighters and police officers directed traffic and closed off the gateway corner of North Avenue and Morris Avenue.

The rupture occurred when the gas line was hit during digging to install electrical conduits, according to Pat Adams, an employee working on the heating and air systems in the building.

Following evacuation, workers were on standby for approximately 40 minutes before they returned to the site to resume construction.

“The shutoff [gas valve] was buried under debris, so it took some time to get to,” McClung said.

This incident marks the second accident this week at the Green Lane building’s construction site.

Kean University police responded to Sept. 16’s incident in which an electrician at the site fell from a scaffold—a five-to-six-foot drop, according to construction worker Patrice Butth, who said the man received stitches for his injuries.

The 40 million dollar construction project for Kean’s Green Lane building was awarded to Dobco Inc. and is 80% complete, according to the construction organization’s website.

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