UWM carbon monoxide leak, students to be compensated

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said it will compensate students and help with medical bills after a carbon monoxide leak at a residence hall on Feb. 28.

Students expressed their frustration with the university during a small protest Wednesday afternoon, March 9. With signs in hand and a couple of chats, they demanded change.

"I really had no idea what was going on. I mean, I didn’t think I’d ever be put in this situation," student Kallista Bohl said. "It was definitely a very stressful week."

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Bohl is still upset about the leak at her residence hall, Cambridge Commons. Four hundred students were evacuated, 17 of which went to the hospital.

"People are definitely still shaken up," said student Nate Valentine.

Protest regarding UWM's carbon monoxide leak response

UWM said students who live at Cambridge Commons will receive compensation for the night they spent in a different room and get help with any medical bills associated with the leak. The details are still in flux.

The university did not have anyone to talk to FOX6 on camera Wednesday, but released the following statement:

"Students who live in Cambridge Commons will receive compensation for the night they spent in RiverView and help with their medical bills. We are still working on the details of this and will post information on the incident webpage when we have it."

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"As far as compensation, we have revolved $100 in the form of university credit called Gold Cash, but that’s primarily used for laundry and printing," said Bohl.

Bohl said she is also looking for changes that don't have a price tag.

"One of our priorities is clear communication moving forward from the university, just so we as students know what’s going on," Bohl said.

The university has installed carbon monoxide detectors since the leak, which officials said came from a basement steam boiler. It did not have them in residence halls at the time, saying the building code did not require them.

CO leak detected at Cambridge Commons, Milwaukee (Credit: Incident Response)

The UW System released a statement, saying:

"The state building code requires carbon monoxide alarms or detectors to be installed and maintained in locations of residential buildings that contain fuel-burning appliances. However, most UW System residential buildings are heated via steam and do not include fuel-burning appliances for heating purposes; they would not be required under code to have detectors unless there is a location with a fuel-burning appliance. UW System is reviewing university residential buildings and code compliance on this matter. UW-Milwaukee was in compliance with the applicable code.

"The UW System has engaged chancellors, who under Board of Regents policy are responsible for meeting health and safety requirements, to ensure that carbon monoxide detectors are installed and utilized to protect the health and safety of our students."

FOX6 News spoke to the Department of Neighborhood Services, which enforces the building code. The department is asking the university for inspection logs.

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