Fire officials: Gas leak forced USC evacuation

Staff ReportsJune 13, 2014 

A hazmat team works at Swearingen Engineering Center at USC.

BY HARRISON CAHILL — hcahill@thestate.com

— A USC building was evacuated and nearby streets blocked after a Friday afternoon gas leak.

More than 25 firefighters responded to the call, which came at about 2:20 p.m. at the at the Swearingen Engineering Center near Assembly Street. The scene was cleared and the building and roads reopened by 4 p.m.

Jamie Helms, assistant fire chief with the Columbia Fire Department, said the leak involved a 5-pounds compressed cylinder of hydrogen chloride gas. The building's scrubbing system worked appropriately to contain the leak through ventilation.

Helms said USC officials would investigate what caused the leak.

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