December 3, 2013

Firefighters respond to gas odor at new hospital in Augusta

Hospital staff report a “strong smell” of gas in emergency room.

Staff Report

AUGUSTA — Firefighters on Monday responded to complaints of a gas odor at two buildings in the city, including the new regional hospital.

Firefighters checked for leaks at the Alfond Center for Health at 35 Medical Center Parkway and the Office of Information and Technology at 51 Commerce Drive. In both cases, no leaks were found and the buildings were deemed to be safe before being turned over to maintenance crews, Augusta Fire Deputy Chief David Groder said.

Employees at the hospital called for help shortly after 6 p.m. reporting a strong smell of gas in the emergency room. Responding firefighters said the smell was present in the basement and on one of the upper floors, according to radio transmissions.

Crews shut down driveways leading into the hospital as they checked the floors, Groder said. The hospital was not evacuated, but propane and natural gas to the building were shut off.

Firefighters found there were no active leaks, Groder said.

The complaint of a gas smell on nearby Commerce Drive came a half hour later while crews were still checking the hospital. The few employees in the building had evacuated by the time firefighters arrived. Natural gas was shut off while firefighters checked the building, Groder said. The employees were allowed to return to work.

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