A quiet spring break morning was interrupted for some Penn State faculty and staff Thursday as fire alarms went off in the Boucke Building, causing everyone to evacuate.
Many of the staff members took refuge in the Hub-Robeson Center, across the street on Pollock Avenue, drinking coffee and checking email until they were let back inside about 15 minutes later.
Penn State police and Alpha fire crews were called to Boucke Building at about 9:30 a.m. for a report of an odor and possible natural gas leak. People were evacuated as a precaution.
Through the investigation, which had Alpha personnel sweeping the building from basement to roof, the source of the odor was determined to be not a natural gas leak, but an open steam line.
“There’s some maintenance going on on the steams lines, which we’re understanding started Friday,” Alpha Fire Company Assistant Chief Dennis Harris said. “When those lines are open for awhile, it creates an odd odor. So there’s no hazard to anyone, there’s no hazard to the building and the Penn State (Office of) Physical Plant is getting their people in here to get the problem fixed.”
Pollock Road from Shortlidge to Burrowes was reopened shortly after the incident.