Gas Leak Prompts Evacuation at SMU

Area evacuated Tuesday as precaution

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The smell of natural gas has prompted the evacuation of 14 buildings and several houses on and near the campus of SMU.

    Students, faculty and residents near Southern Methodist University in Dallas have been given the all clear to return to buildings after a possible gas leak prompted the evacuation of 14 buildings and several homes on campus Tuesday morning.

    Gas was shut off to the campus at about 9:30 a.m., about a half hour after the odor of natural gas was first reported.

    At 11 a.m., with gas having been shut off for more than an hour and a half, officials determined the area was safe for people to return, according to SMU Communications Director Kent Best.

    A strong odor of natural gas was first detected along the 3000-block of Dyer near Airline at about 9 a.m. At that time, Dawson Center, Service House and Embry Boulevard were evacuated as a precaution. A short time later, the Highland Park Fire Department evacuated some homes along McFarlin and Fondren, also as a precaution.

    Shortly after 10:15 a.m., SMU said more than a dozen buildings had been evacuated, including all fraternity houses, some administrative offices and some classrooms in the northeast part of the campus.

    At 11 a.m., NBC 5 reported that crews from Atmos Energy determined the area was safe and allowed people to return to campus buildings and nearby homes. Atmos continues to investigate the source of the leak, but as of 11:30 a.m. that leak has not been found. 

    Several classes were disrupted or delayed due to the evacuation.

    Gas Leak Near Scottish Rite

    Earlier in the morning, Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to a gas leak at about 7:30 a.m. near the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas where a line was cut with a backhoe.  No evacuations of the hospital were necessary and no one was injured. 

    Dallas Fire-Rescue diverted traffic away from Oak Lawn and Maple avenues for a short time before clearing the scene.

    Hospital operations were not impacted by the gas leak.

    NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.