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Fumes sicken several, MU building closes

Thursday, April 12, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:55 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fumes from the MU power plant forced MU officials to shut down the Geological Sciences Building on Wednesday after several students and staff members inside the building reported feeling sick.

Department chairman Kevin Shelton said he smelled an odor inside the building Wednesday afternoon and assumed it was diesel from construction on the Francis Quadrangle. But after walking outside to look for the source, he said he could see smoke billowing out from the power plant that was lower to the ground than usual and that appeared to be coming across Sixth Street.

“Anything that came out of the short stacks came straight into our building,” Shelton said.

Shelton said that after several students and staff members in the building reported feeling sick as a result of the fumes, he decided about 3 p.m. to shut down the geology building and send employees home.

Phil Shocklee, the MU Campus Facilities director, said that the power plant was conducting “the test burning of diesel fuels,” and that weather can be blamed for the fumes coming in contact with campus buildings.

“The atmospheric conditions kept the fumes low to the ground,” he said.

The power plant immediately shut down the burning after receiving reports of the odors. Shocklee said that similar tests had been conducted all week and that today’s incident will be reviewed.


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