UPDATE: Residential Hall Explosion: Work On Hold For Holiday

Jul 3, 2017

Credit Orville Herndon

Update July 3rd: . President Bob Davies said in a release Monday that “a significant portion of one of our facilities is now rendered inoperable with the extent of the total damage still being assessed.” A structural engineering report began Friday will take several days to complete. Adrienne King said the work surrounding the event will be temporarily put on hold for the Fourth of July holiday.

Bob Davies full statement:

Colleagues and Friends,

Last week we, as a University community, experienced a near calamity with the incident at Richmond Hall. 

During the immediate aftermath, and still continuing, we have experienced tremendous support from the faculty, staff, students and community members in assisting and providing services.

I am extremely grateful to all of the members of the Murray State family who demonstrated compassion in the efforts to maintain services, answer questions, ease minds and provide a sincere caring spirit among all individuals who have been impacted.  I am also appreciative to all of the community members who responded with aid, action and words of encouragement.

Yes, a significant portion of one of our facilities is now rendered inoperable with the extent of the total damage still being assessed.   However, by all accounts, we are extremely fortunate.  We can, and will, replace and rebuild structures.   During this time, we must remember the spirit of community that embraced us all as we responded in support of others. 

As tomorrow is a day of celebration of our Nation’s independence and the inherent freedoms we hold so dear and important, let us also celebrate the deeds of humanity, caring and compassion that were exhibited by our campus community.   Let us also be grateful that we have such a place, physical as well as emotional, and recognize the beauty in our ability to put aside our own needs for those of others. 

Thank you to all who have answered the call to demonstrate how a caring and unified community responds in the time of need. 

On behalf of the leadership team of Murray State to all of you, we are all eternally grateful and extend our sincerest sense of gratitude.

Very Respectfully,

Bob Davies 

June 30: All College Courts residents are now back in their respective housing assignments.

Residents in Clark Residential Hall are expected to be able to return to the building this evening.

University officials will be working throughout the day tomorrow, Saturday, July 1, --to remove students’ belongings for them to collect in White Hall.

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UPDATE 1:38:  Vice president of University Advancement Adrienne King said the university can confirm damage to 3 other residential hall buildings and Winslow Dining Hall. These residential halls are Hester, Clark and Hart. She said Friday there will be a structural engineer working with the Incident Command Center to assess the structural stability of Richmond Hall.  King said the parking lot south of Clark St. and the parking lot around the residential circle have been cleared for individuals who have vehicles there. She said the university has extended counseling services to any summer school students or summer camp students who request them. She said the university will be working with individuals who had homes or vehicles damaged from the blast. University President Bob Davies has been away traveling, but King said he will be returning to campus this weekend. 

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6/29: Investigators say a natural gas leak is to blame for yesterday’s explosion at Murray State’s vacant Richmond Residence Hall. The four story brick building suffered crippling damage and engineers have yet to assess the future viability of the structure.

Kentucky State Police Public Information Officer Jody Cash said the cause of the leak is still under investigation but has been determined to be non-criminal. Vice president of University Advancement Adrienne King said the extent of the damage to Richmond Hall and the buildings surrounding the blast is still unknown at this time. King said all residents staying in the affected areas have been relocated to buildings cleared by the fire marshal. She said Murray State will be working with the Incident Command Center to check all utilities on campus and will continue working with them as the process moves forward.

King said there were no students in Richmond Hall during the time of the incident. King said the high school aged participants for camps that the university hosts typically stay in Richmond Hall, but were boarded in a different residential hall this year for Richmond to undergo renovations during the summer months. Only residential hall employee Dakota Fields 26, of Murray, was inside Richmond during the explosion; he was airlifted to Vanderbilt with injuries but has remained in stable condition.

  

Credit Orville Herndon

King said the university will be communicating with students and parents in the coming weeks but does not anticipate that the incident will delay classes, which start August 15. King said those who have a vehicle or belongings in the area affected by the blast are still not allowed to go into the area until it is cleared by safety officials. Cash said safety officials will be putting a temporary fence around the affected area soon.