Numerous University of Minnesota athletic facilities and a large area beyond the campus perimeter were evacuated midday Tuesday because of a suspected gasoline leak, school and other officials said.
People were directed to leave the following buildings, according to a campus safety alert: Williams Arena, Huntington Bank Stadium, the McNamara Alumni Center, the Aquatics Center, the Recreation and Wellness Center, 3M Arena at Mariucci and the Maturi Pavilion. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted at about 4:30 p.m. that evacuation orders had been lifted.
Fire crews responded to a report of high gas readings and a strong smell of petroleum gas from Metropolitan Council contractors who were working in a sewer system at 5th and Oak streets about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to a Minneapolis Fire Department news release. When fire crews found similar readings on their monitors, they evacuated people from the area.
The Fire Department advised that those with homes in the evacuation area run water in every sink and floor drain of the building. The source of the petroleum is unknown.
People were advised to stay out of the evacuation area, and emergency personnel were to notify people if they needed to leave. Crews were monitoring E. Hennepin Avenue from Hoover Street to Stinson Boulevard to NE. 33rd Avenue; NE. 18th Avenue to Elm Street; and 4th Street and University Avenue from SE. 14th Avenue to Oak Street.
Beyond the campus evacuations, Hennepin Emergency Services announced evacuations roughly from Huron Boulevard west to Interstate 35W and from the Mississippi River north to E. Hennepin Avenue.
Mike Trullinger, an emergency services battalion chief, told the Star Tribune that fire personnel were going building by building as part of the evacuation and that police were shutting down roads in the affected area.
"Fortunately, there have been no explosions or manholes flying through the air or anything like that," he added.
The Minneapolis Fire Department said in a tweet that its crews were called about 11:30 a.m. regarding a hazardous material by Metropolitan Council contractors working in the sewer tunnels near SE. 5th and Oak streets, just north of the football stadium.
The contractors "reported their gas monitors alarmed, high petroleum smell and visual of petroleum in sewer tunnel," the tweet read.
University spokesman Jake Ricker said the evacuated buildings were not as occupied as what would be expected during the traditional school year or when a major athletic event is taking place.
On June 30, a fire in the basement of a three-story fraternity house on University Avenue prompted an evacuation of buildings for many hours along the main thoroughfare near the university.
Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said the early indication was that gasoline in the sewer system caught fire and blew several manholes along University Avenue. No injuries were reported from the fire at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity in the 1700 block of SE. University Avenue, the chief said.