According to campus authorities, a natural gas leak was likely not the cause of the odors that prompted police to activate building alarms.
Last Friday morning, many students were confused regard conflicting messages on the LA building evacuations from both campus sources and state media outlets.
According to Officer Rockwood, there was no gas leak found. According to Campus Police Chief John Brewer, even though Orem City Fire Department found unclear readings, there was nothing hazardous detected once the gas was turned back on.
Some students were alerted via Opt-In, the campus text messaging system, that classes were canceled. Other students were confused as the building reopened for the remainder of the day.
Campus Publications and Marketing Director Brad Plothow explained the reason for the confusion was in part due to uncertainty about the actual cause of the alarm: students reporting strange odors.
The chronology of events Friday morning is as follows: some students in the LA building began smelling odors that appeared to cause constricted breathing and itchy eyes. At least two students sought transportation to a hospital for treatment.
Due to these student complaints, the campus police were alerted and turned on the fire alarms in order to evacuate the building. Orem City Fire Department was then contacted and once they arrived, they detected readings of something in the building at near-combustible levels.
Consequently, the gas was turned off. Follow-up readings detected normal levels, indicating the threat had passed. At that point, students were told classes were canceled and the buildings closed off due to a natural gas leak.
However, once the gas was turned back on and the city authorities conducted additional readings, nothing hazardous showed up in the air. It was then concluded that whatever had caused the strange odors must have been from some external source, perhaps construction or freeway fumes, that had since subsided. It was also possible the initial reading was a false alarm.
Investigations are ongoing, as authorities have yet to establish contact with the students who complained of strange odors.