BREAKING NEWS: Freon leak in Stewart Library

Weber State University Master Police Officer Cameron Kapetanov, Donny Archuleta, and Lt. Cody Brenchley talking about the status of a Freon chemical leak in the Shepherd Union building.

Update: The Stewart Library has reopened to faculty, staff and students as of Aug. 30, 3 p.m., after being evacuated due to a Freon leak. The third floor of the building stills remains closed.


Students’ first days on campus were interrupted suddenly when the Stewart Library was unexpectedly evacuated on Aug. 30. The fire alarm was set off at 11:05 a.m. that day. Students, faculty and staff were all asked to clear the building at that time.

Students gathered and congregated around the library as the evacuation was underway. Students were quickly advised by library staff to contact their instructors to see if future classes would be canceled or moved to a different classroom.

The immediate evacuation was facilitated due to a Freon leak, confirmed by Public Safety. The building was evacuated as a safety concern, due to an abundance of caution. There have been no injuries reported.

The Stewart Library will remain closed until it has been deemed safe to be reopened for campus faculty use.

“It was all very sudden,” Roxanne Derda, the library’s head of circulation services, said. “I was actually made aware of it by facilities maintenance. We then pulled the alarm and started getting everyone out. Response has been very good though.”

That response circulated from campus police, who were quick to the scene, to even local firemen, who were working very hard to contain the chemical leak at the library.

That response has ranged to the many computer labs found on campus. Elise Waikart, computer lab supervisor, has seen an increase in student traffic in the labs outside the library since the evacuation.

“Students have been re-routed from the library computer lab to the different labs on campus, “ Waikart said. “It’s way busier right now than it usually is.”

The increase in student traffic is not just contained to the computer lab in the Shepherd Union building, but also to the entirety of the Shepherd Union building.

The response continues even outside the library as the staff there are working to ensure students’ needs are met. This even extends to the student employees at the library. Library staff are making sure students have food and water while they wait for the library to reopen.

Weber State University aims to have the library reopened as soon as possible, specifically the library testing center and the laptop check-out station.

Students can continue to hear about the state of the library when they log on to the Weber State website and on the Weber State social media accounts.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the title of Roxanne Derda.