June 13, 2014

Fire officials: Gas leak forced USC evacuation

A USC building has been evacuated and nearby streets blocked.

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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