A malfunctioning rooftop heating unit forced Upper Arlington city workers and visitors to briefly evacuate the Municipal Services Center last week.

A malfunctioning rooftop heating unit forced Upper Arlington city workers and visitors to briefly evacuate the Municipal Services Center last week.

Upper Arlington Community Affairs Director Emma Speight said 25 to 35 city employees had to leave the center after staff members working there smelled what they believed was natural gas. She said contractors for the city and officials from Columbia Gas of Ohio determined Friday afternoon, Dec. 5, the issue stemmed from a heating unit on the roof.

"There was a malfunctioning rooftop heating unit that was not circulating gas correctly," Speight said. "Some of the gas that leaked from the unit was recirculated into the heating system and ended up entering the building as a result.

"Our HVAC contractor was called and has been on the scene making repairs to this unit," she said. "Once the contractor and Columbia Gas had determined the source of the leak, it was isolated so that the other heating units could be put back in operation."

The Upper Arlington Fire Division was alerted to the issue at roughly 9:24 a.m. Dec. 5 and three fire engines, two ladder trucks, an ambulance and a command officer vehicle responded to the scene by 9:26 a.m., Fire Chief Jeff Young said.

After a quick check of the building, fire officials decided to evacuate it until it could be deemed safe. Gas was shut off to the center and the building was ventilated.

"We began checking for explosive levels with our gas meters," Young said. "We did not detect explosive levels of gas within the building."

Workers and visitors were allowed to re-enter about 10:17 a.m. However, they spent the rest of the morning without heat or hot water.

Young said fire crews worked quickly to ensure there was no interruption of services for the Upper Arlington Police Division and the city's 911 communications staff, which operate from the center.

"I don't believe there was any loss of operations," he said. "For us, it was a very routine report of a gas leak in a structure and we treated it accordingly."

No one was hurt as a result of the gas leak and, aside from the malfunctioning heating unit, the building experienced no damages.