W president Dr. Jim Borsig gives statement at press conference

Lauren Trimm

Wednesday at 11 a.m., W president Dr. Jim Borsig gave a statement to various media outlets at a press conference about the carbon monoxide leak at the W.

Dr. Borsig opened the conference by thanking those who were involved in insuring the safety and care of the students.

“I want to thank in particular the first responders from Columbus Fire and Rescue, the ambulance service, Baptist Memorial Hospital Golden Triangle, along with our terrific staff here [at the W] who responded yesterday morning when this incident began,” said Dr. Borsig.

The safety of everyone involved was Dr. Borsig’s top priority. After the students were released from the hospital, the focus shifted to investigating the boiler and building involved.

“Today, we’re back focusing on the buildings, and then next week the evaluation of what happened and what we can improve on both on our response as well as what we learned from the review of the building.”

Dr. Borsig provided updates on how the W students are doing.

“We had 101 students housed off campus last night out of Kincannon Hall. We had 41 students that were seen at Baptist Memorial Hospital yesterday. They all have been released,” said Dr. Borsig. “We ran shuttles. The students are in class today and we are going to continue to work with them to take care of their needs.”

“Also, last night after the last update, we had technicians looking at this boiler as well as two others that are similar,” said Dr. Borsig. “All of them were reviewed last night by two technicians from two different companies.

The affected boiler was in Kincannon Hall, and the other residence halls that have similar boilers are Jones Hall and Goen Hall.

The W plans to take action to prevent incidents like this from reoccurring.  

“We are in the process of installing carbon monoxide detectors on those three [residence halls] as we speak,” said Dr. Borsig. “We will have carbon monoxide detectors in place before bedtime today.”

“We’re prepared to leave the students housed off campus at least one more night if we need to until we have confidence that we’re in good shape with the building,” said Dr. Borsig.

“We’ve learned some things, I’m sure, over the last 24 hours, but I also say that the good work that our staff has done led us to be very prepared to know what to do, where to go and to not have a surprise in working with our partners and first responders,” said Dr. Borsig. “The relationship that we’ve created with them through our drills made yesterday go as well as it could have.”

According to an update from Anika Perkins, Interim Executive Director of Univesity Relations, students are expected to return to Kincannon Hall Thursday, Nov. 30.

A timeline of the events of the crisis was provided during the conference.

Timeline of Events as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28

9 a.m.– McCain engineer contacted
3 p.m.– Air Control Technician arrives on campus; remains on campus until 8 p.m.
3 p.m. – Columbus Fire and Rescue using carbon monoxide and other element detector scanned all five floors of Kincannon Hall; zero levels of detection.
5 p.m.– McCain engineer arrives on campus. Leaves campus at 9 p.m.
4:15 p.m. – All Kincannon Hall residents met with Dean of Students to update and inform students
4:15 -10 p.m. – Kincannon Hall was open for students
6 p.m.– Shuttles began running to temporary housing
9 p.m.– Kincannon Hall walked through and cleared by MUW.
10 p.m.– Kincannon closed to all students. Shuttles stopped. All students who were unaccounted for were called.
10 p.m. – Boiler testing begins. Boilers run until 8 a.m.
Midnight – Columbus Fire and Rescue test Kincannon. Zero levels found.
Midnight – Rooms checked at temporary housing. All 101 students scheduled to stay at hotel are present at hotel.
6:45 a.m.– Shuttle begins running back to campus.
8 a.m. – Boilers turned off and smoke test performed. Repeated carbon monoxide test. Zero levels found.