Management at the 21 Pearl apartment complex provided more detail about evacuation procedures in a notice dated Thursday, after students were evacuated from their apartments Wednesday due to a hazmat situation.
Management said they followed all necessary procedures after the evacuation occurred. The Austin Fire Department evacuated residents floor by floor and room by room in response to an “apparent chemical odor,” the notice read.
“As soon as the AFD [Austin Fire Department] arrived on the scene our staff was removed from the building and first responders implemented standard emergency protocols,” the notice read. “We were advised by the AFD that the best tactic for clearing the building is called “Shelter in Place,” which is an evacuation of the immediate area first, working outwards from there until all areas are secured or the danger has passed.”
Some students told The Daily Texan on Wednesday that they were concerned about the way the apartment complex handled the evacuation. Some students did not know they were supposed to evacuate the complex until 30 or more minutes had passed after the complex warned students to evacuate, global studies sophomore Natalie Nehls said.
Firefighters went door to door, telling people to evacuate immediately from their apartments. Nehls, who lives at 21 Pearl, said this was the only other way they were initially notified beyond Facebook.
“It was awful,” Nehls said. “On the Facebook page, people were like, “I have been sleeping, and I didn’t hear that.’ People were like, “I was supposed to evacuate 30 minutes ago?’”
Asked about resident complaints about evacuation notifications, property spokesperson Francoise Luca said Wednesday that students have to actively take steps to make sure they receive notifications from the complex.
“If they do not opt in to the communications options that we offer them, their information sources are limited,” he said. “Each individual person chooses how they want to be communicated to.”
- These photos of the 21 Pearl notice are courtesy of a 21 Pearl resident.