Gas leak leads to Saratoga townhouse evacuation

On Monday, a punctured gas line near Saratoga Commons necessitated the evacuation of several townhouses and the diversion of traffic in the area.

Associate Director of Facilities Services Steve Benchik said the leak was "caused by a contractor that was doing work for a heating plant." The gas line was part of the Saratoga heating project that will create a central heating plant for the Saratoga townhouses. Individual furnaces currently heat the units.

According to Assistant Vice President of Facilities Services George Stooks, the gas line was punctured by human error at about 11:40 a.m. NY-Alert began notifying students via phone calls, text messages and e-mails shortly after noon. The Geneseo fire department and University Police arrived to secure the area and, as a precautionary measure, evacuated townhouses 1-6 and 37-44, which were closest to the leak.

The pipe leaked for about an hour, during which students attempting to reach south campus were diverted onto Saratoga field. Rochester Gas and Electric company arrived at about 12:40 p.m. and secured the line. NY-Alert notified the campus that the area was safe for all activities shortly after 1 p.m.

According to Stooks, the time during which the townhouses remained without heat was "relatively short." He said the leak will have no repercussions for townhouse residents and that the heating project will continue on schedule.