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Published: Monday, 4/14/2008

Fumes close Toledo shelter


St. Paul s Community Center at 230 13th St. in downtown Toledo remained closed Monday after it was evacuated late Sunday when some of its residents smelled fumes, suspected a natural gas leak, and alerted authorities.

A total of 34 people were evacuated, with 16 being taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center and Toledo Hospital, where most of them remained Monday pending the re-opening of the shelter.

The rest spent the night at other charitable organizations: 18 men at the Cherry Street Mission and four women at the YWCA downtown, said Ruth Arden, the executive director of St. Paul s Community Center. They were still at those locations Monday afternoon.

"Everybody is safe," Ms. Arden said. "We are not opening until it is 100 percent safe."

Columbia Gas spokesman Chris Kozak said crews from the utility arrived about 10 p.m. Sunday, tested the air, and confirmed that there was a gas leak, and shut off the service to the building a short time later.

The building was evacuated about 11 p.m., according to the Toledo Fire Department.

A plumbing contractor was working Monday to locate and repair the gas leak, the utility spokesman said.

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