Roanoke College Carbon Monoxide Leak Under Investigation

ROANOKE, Va. – An apparent build up of carbon monoxide in Sections residence halls at Roanoke College July 14 sent dozens of Power in the Spirit Lutheran conference participants to area hospitals and may have contributed to a fatality.

According to a statement released by the school, medical examiners have not yet determined the cause of death, but an elderly participant in the conference has passed away. He was 91-year-old Walter Vierling of Pearisburg, Va. He had been staying at Sections with about 100 visitors from Power in the Spirit and approximately 37 teenagers who are on campus for a program called Upward Bound.

The incident began at 6:40 a.m. when Campus Safety was notified that a woman in Sections was ill and had fallen. Officers discovered that others were also feeling sick and called paramedics and the local fire department, which detected high levels of carbon monoxide.

Everyone experiencing symptoms was transported to area hospitals for treatment. No Roanoke College students were affected.

The investigation into the cause of the incident is continuing. Salem city officials are focusing on a potential failure in the gas hot water system. Sections consists of three separate buildings: Wells, built in 1910; Yonce, built in 1913; and Fox, built in 1956. Sections was renovated in 1986.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo