Penland Dining Hall evacuated Wednesday due to sewage issue, not gas leak

Penland Dining Hall evacuated the building 30 minutes early Wednesday afternoon due to a sewage issue. Christina Cannady | Photographer

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

Baylor confirmed that a sewage issue forced the Penland Dining Hall to evacuate about 30 minutes early on Wednesday afternoon, disproving rumors that there was a gas leak after reports of workers yelling to turn off the grills and staffers urging students out the door.

Flower Mound freshman Johniel Najera was at Penland when the situation occurred grabbing lunch with his friends. At first when he heard workers being told to shut off the grills, Najera thought something was wrong with the food. Watching people get told to leave, Najera figured he could finish his meal first, but he was told to leave immediately because the building was being evacuated.

“We just saw workers start going crazy and started running around and then grabbing things and like telling people, ‘Hey you guys need to leave,’” Najera said. “It was kind of weird to see everyone leave immediately, but we didn’t really get any information.”

While leaving the building, Najera’s first thought to the situation was a possible gas leak since there were no fire alarms going off. However, quickly after leaving the building Najera didn’t stay to see if any firefighters or police came by.

“My first guess was maybe some sort of gas leak because if there was a fire the alarms would have gone off, but they didn’t,” Najera said. “And so, if there was like a gas leak, you wouldn’t have known instantly.”

Najera explained that the small number of students that were there seemed pretty calm about the situation. He also mentioned that the issue seemed to be resolved pretty quickly after being evacuated.

Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president of media and public relations, explained in an email that there was an issue with the sewer. Fogleman said Penland closed 30 minutes earlier than usual and that no fire or police were called to the scene.

“Dining closed Penland 30 minutes early to fix the issue and provided students who were at Penland with to-go containers,” Fogelman said. “Penland was back open at its regular time for dinner.”