The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 10, 2014

UPDATE: Residents evacuated from Lafayette this morning

Press conference slated for 10 a.m. today.

By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor

CLINTON — Residents of the Lafayette Apartments were evacuated from their homes early Friday morning because of a gas leak behind the building at 143 Sixth Ave. South.

“They have to evacuate when they get into something this major,” said Steve Parker, a maintenance manager at the building.

“There was a water leak, and when they went down to the basement they smelled gas,” Parker said. “We can be thankful for the water leak.”

Fire department officials were dispatched to the building at 2:30 a.m. to check on a water leak. According to a news release from Battalion Chief Frederick Roling, “when firefighters arrived and investigated, they had found dangerous levels of natural gas leaking into the basement.”

Fire officials investigated the scene, and about 4 a.m. they ordered residents to evacuate the five-story structure.

“If you go to the back door you can smell it really bad,” said Matthew Bogue, who lives in the building and is a part-time maintenance worker there. “It was almost up to the fourth floor.”

A city bus was called in to transport the evacuees. Bogue said some were being sent to Sisters Cafe while others were headed to the Victory Center.

Bogue said about 100 people live in the apartments, including elderly people, people with mobility issues and a blind person.