Red Jacket Residence Hall safe for students to return

Published March 2, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Students were evacuated from Red Jacket Residence Hall Thursday night due to an unidentified odor in the building. The smell was first reported around 10 p.m. Thursday.

Shortly after, emergency responders completed a thorough inspection of Red Jacket Quadrangle on the North Campus, deeming it safe for students to return.

UB Police say the cause of the odor is still undetermined and the investigation is continuing, but their investigation today revealed one possible cause: Pepper spray may have been sprayed in one hallway of the building.

The symptoms of affected students were consistent with indirect exposure to pepper spray and dissipated quickly after they walked outside into the cool fresh air, UB police investigators say.

A UB Alert text message was dispatched to the campus community at about 10:30 p.m., advising people to stay away from the building until further notice. A follow-up UB Alert at about 1 a.m. Friday stated that it was safe for students to return to Red Jacket.

“Firefighters went through numerous times with sophisticated detection equipment and didn't pick anything up,” explained Joseph Brennan, associate vice president for university communications.

No injuries were reported. One student with a history of asthma was taken to an area hospital as a precaution.

The odor was not construction related.

“We ruled out natural gas, we ruled out chemicals. Nobody was seriously harmed. We apologize for the disruption that it caused, but it’s better to be safe than to be sorry,” Brennan said.

University Police continue to investigate. No other updates are available at this time.