Fire truck runs into Rodgers, causes gas leak

Ryan Sullivan and Ryan Sullivan

The Bowling Green Fire Department makes numerous runs to the University for reported fires, but one yesterday was unlike any before it.

A fire truck smashed into the side of Rodgers Quadrangle while responding to a call from the Phi Kappa Tau house.

Although there were no injuries, explosions or additional fires, residents panicked as they began to smell gas leaking from the building.

The situation began at around 1:20 p.m. when someone from the Phi Kappa Tau Alpha house called to say a deep fryer went ablaze due to a grease fire.

As sophomore and volunteer firefighter Matt Crandall quelled the three to four foot flames in the kitchen, firefighters responded to the call. Once the firefighters headed inside, their truck rolled into Rodgers.

Freshmen Patrick Griffith and Lee Mullenbrock said there was no one driving the fire truck when it hit the gas house off the side of the quadrangle.

“It sounded like a bomb went off,” said University sophomore Drew Pontius. “It was like an earthquake for a second.”

When the truck hit the building, it struck a gas line that supplied gas to Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Tau and Commons Dining Center, said Larry Howland, director of facilities at the University. The gas line does not supply gas for Rodgers.

Only buildings with a dining hall or a kitchen use the gas lines, said Tim Carney, associate director of residence life.

Still, students from Rodgers and the two fraternity houses were immediately evacuated from their buildings as a result of safety concerns due to the leak.

The gas that leaked was mostly used for cooking, said Michael Griffel, director of residence life.

By around 1:55 p.m., the leak had stopped, Howland said.

Then University officials waited for the gas to ventilate, said Kim McBroom, assistant vice president for University marketing and communications.

While University and Bowling Green city officials waited for a tow truck to remove the truck from the building, students were kept behind a police line.

The tow truck arrived around 4:30 p.m. and quickly towed the fire truck away. The bell of the fire engine rang as it was towed away.

Just after 5 p.m., city officials decided it was safe for students to return to their dorms.

Bowling Green Fire Chief Stephen Meredith would not say what caused the fire truck to run into the building or the amount of damage to the truck.

An investigation into the situation is underway, he said.