Kenilworth Square natural gas leak

Last Updated March 20, 2023 12:09 pm
Incident Date April 21, 2022
Incident Location Kenilworth Square Apartments, 1915 E. Kenilworth Place, Milwaukee


University Housing staff contacted UWM Facilities Services and the UWM Police Department around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21 to report the smell of propane in the garage at Kenilworth Square Apartments.

UWM police officers called the Milwaukee Fire Department, which arrived just before 7 p.m. Firefighters called WE Energies after a meter detected natural gas in the northwest corner of the garage. Firefighters and police then did a floor-by-floor check of the apartment building with a meter and did not detect gas of any kind (propane, natural gas or carbon monoxide).

WE Energies’ team arrived around 8:20 p.m. and checked both the apartment building and garage with two meters. They detected natural gas on the second floor of the garage but advised that the levels were not dangerous. WE Energies traced the gas to two air handlers — one in the southwest corner of the garage and one in the southeast corner. The air handlers provide heat to keep the garage warm. Gas to the air handlers was turned off. The air handlers’ fans, which are powered by electricity, were left on to vent the area.

WE Energies and the fire department departed around 9 p.m.

Given that no gas was detected in the apartments, and the level of gas detected in the garage was not dangerous, the residential building was not evacuated.

Initial University Statement

Dear Kenilworth Square Apartments residents,

You may have heard about a gas leak that happened Thursday night in the Kenilworth Square parking garage. UWM police, the Milwaukee Fire Department and WE Energies all responded to a call from University Housing staff. They checked the apartments with meters and found no gas. However, a check of the parking garage found natural gas, and WE Energies identified two air handlers as the source. Gas to the air handlers has been turned off, although the air handlers’ fans, which are powered by electricity, remain on to keep the area ventilated.

Repairs to the air handlers are underway. There are a few things that are important for you to know:

First, the apartments were not evacuated because no gas of any kind (propane, natural gas or carbon monoxide) was found in the building. WE Energies advised that the level of gas in the garage was not dangerous, and the area was immediately ventilated.

Second, natural gas has an odorant added to it. Unlike carbon monoxide, which you cannot smell, you will smell natural gas. The odorant serves as the warning mechanism for leaks (versus the detectors needed for carbon monoxide), and in this case, the odorant worked as intended, alerting staff to the leak.

We know this incident may be alarming after the one earlier this year in Cambridge Commons, but the two are unrelated with different types of equipment and gas involved.

A summary of this incident has been posted on the web, and updates will be provided on that page as more information is available.

University Housing