Smell of natural gas forces evacuation of Pitt's Child Development Center

PITTSBURGH — A Shadyside daycare will remain closed through Monday after a gas leak led to an evacuation and two people being taken to the hospital.

The smell of natural gas prompted the evacuation Thursday morning of the University of Pittsburgh’s University Child Development Center in Shadyside, officials said. The odor was reported shortly after 7:30 a.m. at the center on Clyde Street.

"It's kind of scary," said parent Ceci Li. "I didn't know because it's so early in the morning so I would assume when they come in they already discovered the issues. Hopefully, there aren't that many people that had to be sent to the hospital."


Two adults were taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital to be evaluated, a Pitt spokesperson said. Meanwhile, between 20 and 25 children were taken to the Petersen Events Center, where they were able to be picked up by their parents or caregivers.

"We wish we knew a little bit beforehand but it's good to know everyone is getting taken care of and we don't have to stay in there," Li said. "It seems like things are under control."

Peoples Natural Gas said crews searched the building but did not find a natural gas leak.

Even though the leak was reported before 7:30 a.m. Peoples wasn't called for another hour. A spokesman for the university says the company was called to verify the natural gas readings staff and the fire department had already taken.

"When I dropped her off in the morning, I saw engineers and police working there," said parent Kitty Liu. "I think they knew something was happening and once they knew, they needed to bring the kids away, they evacuated the kids right away."