University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings library evacuated after suspicious gas smell

February 23, 2012


Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


No injuries reported; library, LA building closed for the night


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The library and classrooms in the Liberal Arts Building at Montana State University Billings were evacuated Thursday night after reports of a suspicious odor.


No injuries were reported but one MSU Billings staff member was driven by a family member to a Billings hospital to be checked for elevated heart rate.


About 50 staff and students were evacuated from the library at about 5:10 p.m. when a strong odor of what was believed to be natural gas was reported near the circulation desk at the library. Staff immediately notified authorities and began evacuation procedures of all three floors of the library. Four custodians and eventually about two dozen students and some faculty were evacuated from the nearby Liberal Arts Building as a precautionary measure.


Billings Fire Department arrived at the scene at about 5:30 p.m. and checked the buildings for fumes with MSU Billings facility services personnel. Monitors did not pick up any leaks and the building was cleared for occupancy at about 6:45 p.m.


MSU Billings Chancellor Rolf Groseth decided to close the library and the neighboring LA building for the night as a precaution. Fire Department and MSU Billings personnel will check the buildings again early Friday morning to ensure the buildings are safe for use.