The Oregon State Police were notified at approximately 8 p.m. on Tuesday night that an odor of gas was collecting on the south side of the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis.
The leak was localized at the intersection of 26th Street and SW Washington Way, directly across from the OSU Beaver Store and Dutch Bros Coffee.
OSP, Corvallis Fire Department, OSU Public Safety and NW Natural gas company were all on the scene within minutes of the initial dispatch call. The CFD and NW Natural immediately began working to determine the extent of the leak, once they had cleared the area of any people.
“We did what we call a primary search of the commercial buildings—of Dutch Brothers and all that stuff—to make sure that there was nobody inside, which there wasn’t, and that there was no gas leaking into the building and we didn’t find any,” said Brett Loomis, battalion chief of CFD.
According to Loomis, the initial report stated the gas leak was caused by an alleged hit-and-run, damaging the outer casing box that houses the gas pipes, “which is very interesting… considering how the driver would’ve had to get there to hit that box.”
NW Natural and firefighters were able to locate the source of the leak and close the valves at approximately 9:45 p.m. A secondary evaluation concluded that the gas was no longer a danger to surrounding areas, and OSU Public Safety released an all clear at approximately 10:15 p.m.
CFD took all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of NW Natural workers on the scene as the pipes appeared to be “severely damaged.” All NW Natural officials were dressed in fire protection gear as they approached the source of the leak and were tethered in case there was a “catastrophic incident” in which the gas ignited, allowing the CFD to pull them back to safety.
“We’re in unified command with OSU staff, with OSU Public Safety and Oregon State patrol is here helping us keep a nice perimeter,” Loomis said. “All the students we have encountered have been very cooperative when we’ve asked them to please avoid the area… the Dutch Brothers will be back open tomorrow, along with the Beaver Store, there was no impingement of gas inside those structures which is good.”
This is an ongoing story and updates will be posted as more information becomes available.