Odor of gas leads to evacuation of McCreary Community Building

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A MidAmerican Energy gas technician and McCreary Community Building maintenance personnel, along with members of the Perry Volunteer Fire Department, searched for the source of a possible gas leak reported Thursday night shortly before 6 p.m. The recreation center was evacuated while workers sought the source of the odor.

A patron of the McCreary Community Building (MCB) in Perry was swimming in the rec center’s pool Thursday night when she detected the odor of gas. As an employee of MidAmerican Energy, she was no stranger to the smell, and her report to MCB authorities led to the center’s evacuation at about 6 p.m.

Lisa Carstens of Minburn said she caught two or three strong whiffs of gas while in the pool.

“It might just have been the smell of a backdraft from the wind,” she said, “but that’s the sort of thing you want to be careful about.”

IMG_1456 lisa carstens of minburn
Lisa Carsten of Minburn, second from right, said she reported the odor to MCB staff, who alerted Perry’s agents of public safety. Carsten works for MidAmerican Energy and knows gas when she smells it.

She told MCB staff about the odor. They called the Perry Police Department, who in turn dispatched the Perry Volunteer Fire Department. A MidAmerican worker was also called to the scene.

Many of the MCB’s users called it a night and went home early, while a few remained outside the building, continuing their exercises or chatting in small groups.

No definite source for the odor was identified.

“They never found anything,” said Perry Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Chris Hinds. “Maintenance, under the supervision of the MidAmerican gas technician who was there, went around and tightened all the fittings. They kept going around with their sniffer and tightening this one a little and that one a little and said, ‘I don’t know what else it could be. That’s go to be it.’ Then they packed it up and went home.”

Young users of the McCreary Community Building found the evacuation an occasion for horseplay.
Young users of the McCreary Community Building found the evacuation an occasion for horseplay.

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