Ammonia Leak Forces Evacuation of Williams College Dorms

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Approximately 300 Williams College students were evacuated Jan. 16 after ammonia vapors were released from a nearby ice skating rink.

The fumes, which had filtered into five campus residence halls, were discovered shortly before 10 p.m. when some students smelled the ammonia and called campus police. The odor came from the Lansing Chapman Hockey Rink.

The local fire department set up a staging area at the rink’s parking lot and then evacuated the building and surrounding area. No one was seriously injured, but a campus police officer was treated at a local hospital for respiratory problems. The cause of the leak is still under investigation.

Anhydrous ammonia is used for chilling ice. At moderate levels, it can irritate the eyes and respiratory tract. In higher doses, it can cause ulceration to the eyes and severe respiratory irritation.

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