Yuma, Arizona - Today, just after 12:15 pm, a report was received of an alarm signaling a chemical leak sounding at the Arizona Western College chiller plant. Yuma Fire Department personnel responded and initially ensured the building was unoccupied and isolated.
All AWC facilities personnel had reacted to the alarm and had not entered the building.
Over the next several hours multiple steps were taken to ensure safety. External readings were taken that showed a high level of refrigerant gas in the building. YFD personnel in protective gear and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) entered the building to take additional samples. They later re-entered to evaluate the chiller plant machinery while in remote communications with AWC facilities personnel. The process was then begun to clear the building, dropping refrigerant gas reading to nearly undetectable levels.
Just before 5:00 pm, YFD personnel were able to turn the facility back over to AWC personnel and leave the area. The leak was believed to be small, but allowed the refrigerant levels to build up. The initial cause of the leak is still under investigation.