All clear after gas leak at Bob Keefer Center

A gas leak at Bob Keefer Center evacuated over 800 people Sunday morning.

Posted: Feb 9, 2020 3:12 PM
Updated: Feb 17, 2020 11:07 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Activities at Bob Keefer Center have resumed as normal after a reported gas leak led to the evacuation of more than 800 people from their facility.

The first report to authorities occurred at 10:56 a.m, which halted a multi-day volleyball tournament that the center was hosting.

Michael Wargo, superintendent of Willamalane, said that emergency services were called immediately.

“Everyone exited in an orderly fashion,” Wargo said. “The staff did a great job. Eugene Springfield emergency services came out and did detect the smell of gas. We called EWEB, and they came out and said there was indeed a gas leak.”

Hope Davidson is an athlete for the Portland Volleyball Club. 

"There was a smell of gas over by the bathrooms," Davidson said. "I was reffing, so a SIVA official came over and stopped the game. They said that everyone had to evacuate because there was gas. We all just sat out here for about two hours."

One mother of an athlete said that there was too long of a delay before the evacuation occurred.

“I went back probably three times to the desk and said that you’ve go to evacuate the kids," Chrystal said. "It’s very strong. They said that wasn’t their protocol to call the fire department right away and to call a supervisor first. My concern is that the kids were exposed to that for 45 or more minutes.”

Wargo ensured that safety is the priority during any dangerous situation.

“We want to keep everyone safe,” Wargo said. “We were not going to allow people to be in a dangerous building nor were we going to allow them to re-enter that building unless we got the go-ahead from the authorities, which we did.”

NW Natural later said that their crews arrived on the scene and did not find confirm a leak.

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