Lightning strike causes structural damage, evacuation at Sunset Canyon Rec Center
(Courtesy of UCLA Facilities Management)
By David Gray
Jan. 31, 2019 12:43 p.m.
This post was updated Jan. 31 at 5:13 p.m.
The Sunset Canyon Recreation Center was evacuated due to structural damage caused by a lightning strike Thursday morning.
Lightning struck a structural wooden beam outside the recreation center’s building, causing the building to be evacuated and restricted to emergency personnel until the structure is deemed safe, said Nurit Katz, executive officer of facilities management.
Katz said the lightning strike was reported to her office at around 9:47 a.m., but she does not know when exactly the strike occurred.
Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck said in an email statement the lightning strike also caused a gas leak, which has since been controlled.
He added there were no injuries as a result of the lightning strike.
Hannah Kim, a first-year neuroscience student, said she thinks there should be a more structured plan to deal with uncommon emergency situations.
“We’re obviously not used to thunderstorms like this, but it would be nice if we had a game plan that we were informed ahead of time so we would know what to do in a situation like this,” Kim said. “Because if this had happened right in Delta Terrace, I would be very scared and unsure of what to do. I feel like it would be a pretty chaotic situation actually.”
Katz said a structural engineer will come to assess the damage and structural safety of the building before it can reopen.