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Campus Life

Oil’s Well That Ends Well

A broken fuel line becomes a reason to visit a friend


Monday night, I walked home from my room selection appointment and faced an entirely different kind of housing issue.

Hundreds of Myles Standish Hall residents filled the sidewalks around Bay State Road and Kenmore Square. A 50-gallon oil spill in the basement had prompted officials to evacuate the residence. A fuel line to the furnace was leaking.

As first I thought it was a fire drill or a false alarm — understandably, as a former Warren Towers resident. Last year, I eventually got used to 10-minute breaks from the normal routine.

However, upon my resident advisor’s announcement that we needed to find temporary refuge at a friend’s dorm, I knew the wait would be longer than that. So two friends and I sought shelter in a friend’s room nearby on Bay State.

We depended on the grapevine — text messages from a friend who was with an RA — for updates about the spill and the reopening of Myles. We eventually got a message telling us we could go back to our rooms.

We returned to Myles around 11:30 p.m., greeted by the lingering odor of oil. The smell filled the lobby but faded as I headed upstairs. Luckily, the pungent bouquet did not make it as far as my fifth-floor suite.

As of yesterday morning, thanks to fans placed around the building, the smell had dissipated.

I admit that past experience had made me skeptical of the evacuation. I’ve changed my tune — now I’m confident that University officials know an emergency when they see one.

Brendan Gauthier can be reached at btgauth@bu.edu.

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