Corbett business building at UM evacuated because of oil fumes

Posted June 16, 2011, at 12:52 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — A malfunction in the air conditioning system at the Donald P. Corbett business building at the University of Maine caused oil fumes to circulate Thursday morning, prompting the building to be evacuated, UM spokesman Joe Carr said.

“The failure in the air conditioning system allowed freon to escape, and because freon contains oil,” that is what people in the building reported, he said.

About 40 people were in Corbett at the time — half taking a class and the other half working there, Carr said.

The building was evacuated for about an hour, between 10:45 and 11:45 a.m., and the Orono Fire Department checked the air quality before anyone was allowed to return, he said.

The oil smell was not detectable from outside the building, Carr said, adding that extra fresh air was pumped into the building after the evacuation was over and all of the windows were opened.