A small oil spill occurred in the Information Technology area of the C2 level of the North Tower in Third North Residence Hall earlier this afternoon. The smell permeated throughout the tower and its basement.
A custodian who had been cleaning up the oil said that the spill happened when the maintenance staff was filling the oil tanks. A small amount of oil was accidentally poured onto the floor but was promptly cleaned up.
Liberal Studies freshman Charles Chen lives on the 10th floor of the North Tower and said that he smelled something unusual around 2:40 p.m. Nobody he was with knew what the smell was or where it originated.
“As I was going down to C3 to pick up my laundry, I could smell gasoline,” Chen said. “Then, later on when I walked out from my door I smelled something. I thought I could smell smoke so I asked, ‘Is that gasoline?’ Someone said it was paint.”
When Steinhardt freshman Thomas Miritello returned to Third North in the evening, he also noticed the smell. He said he was not sure what the smell was.
“I got back to Third North at around 5:10, 5:15 [p.m.], and I thought it smelled like WD40 or some industrial chemical,” Miritello said.
Gallatin freshman Austin Christy said that he also smelled the gasoline when he was in the hallway outside his room.
“I didn’t know where it was coming from,” Christy said. “I walked around the halls because I thought it was wet paint, but I couldn’t find where it was coming from. Then I got a text that said there was an oil spill.”
Although the smell lingered on some of the higher levels of the North Tower approximately an hour after the oil spill reportedly occurred, the custodian said that there was no danger. The oil smell was stronger on the C3 level of the building and was present around 4:30 p.m. However, students were once again allowed to travel into the basement and work in the C3 computer labs.
University spokesperson Matt Nagel confirmed that the oil spill was not dangerous, nor was it threatening to any Third North residents.
“A crack in the fill pipe at the Third Avenue North building resulted in a small oil spill this afternoon,” Nagel said. “The spill was isolated to a couple storage rooms and part of a hallway on the C2 level of the building. The leak was contained immediately and the University’s Environmental Health and Safety Office responded accordingly. Because the spill was small and contained, there was no reason for further action.”
The Third North residence administration and the Environmental Health and Safety Office did not comment.
Email Jemima McEvoy and Natasha Roy at [email protected]