Carbon Monoxide Crisis


Photo Credit: Grace Lawrence

On the fateful evening of Monday, the 26th of February, residents of Cutler Hall detected the smell of gas around 6 p.m. on the first floor. Mrs. Donegan, the dorm head of Cutler also smelled gas and immediately took action. Reflecting on her experience, she mentioned, “When I stepped into the hallway and smelled gas I immediately thought of Mr. Donegan, but then I realized it wasn’t that kind of gas smell.” She rounded up all the residents (some were sound asleep at the time) and herded them out to the meeting spot outside the front entrance. Campus security and the fire department were called to the scene. Prefects frantically rushed around knocking on doors and waking residents up in order to evacuate the dorm. The students gathered around the entryway to the building on the dining hall side and took roll call. Soon multiple fire trucks arrived and the students were forced to take refuge in the dining gym or Richmond. Not knowing what was truly happening, or how long it would take for the authorities to do to their job, the residents waited and wondered.

A few hours later, more information was released via an email blast to the entire Loomis community. The malicious gas had snuck into the dorm from the adjacent construction site and was working its way throughout the three floors of the dorm. A mix of carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes constituted this deadly gas. The mass of girls was herded into the overcrowded library for study hall where productivity levels were at an all time low. About halfway through study hall a motley crew of boys entered the library and the word quickly spread that officials had detected gas in Taylor dorm as well. With the members of two entire dorms displayed (nearly 100 or so people by estimation), the people in charge were faced with quite the task: where will all these children go.

With many different opinions and careful evaluation they decided on the following. The Cutler girls would be split up by floor and sent to Richmond, Howe, and Ammidon. The Taylor boys were sent to Flagg, Batch, and Wareham. Before they sent everyone to their adoptive home for the night, they allowed the students to take 5 minutes to gather their most valued belongings from their gas-infiltrated rooms. With belongings in hand the exiled students made the long trek towards their surrogate dorm. What ensued was a giant sleepover. To ease the transition and as a peace offering to the other dorms, pizza and ice cream were sent ahead of the nomad students.

The next day everything returned to normal and people were allowed back into their homes. But the tale of the gas attack will go down in Loomis history and hopefully everyone will remain vigilant on the status of their carbon monoxide detectors.

Written by: Freya Rich ’20 (Web Staff Writer)

Photo Credit: Freya Rich