There was a loud hissing sound and a potentially dangerous situation about 1:15 Wednesday afternoon when a work crew accidentally ruptured a gas line off Peach Street. It happened in the front yard of a home at 3620 Maple Street, near the Peach Street Dairy Queen. The gas line damaged was a 2 inch plastic pipe and until National Fuel crews could shut it off, you could hear the gas whooshing out into the neighborhood.
A crew from Roto-Rooter was digging in the front yard of Ed Jaggi. The location of the gas line was marked with yellow flags. In fact workers told us they were just about done with the digging part of the job, as they got worked to repair a sewer line collapsed because of heavy tree roots. Workers said they were moving some soft dirt, when they heard a pop.
Ed was coming out of the house with his little grandson, Action Jackson, when he realized what happened. "As I was coming out the door with my grandson, I had him all dressed and he heard the whooshing noise and he started crying so I went back in the house and went out the side door into the back yard, but they wouldn't let me stay there. I had to climb over the fence and hand him to the firemen."
Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Carroll said neighbors were very cooperative with a mandatory evacuation of homes and businesses. "What we've done is evacuate all the homes on the block from 36th to 38th on Maple and Hazel and a few houses to the north and east off of Maple," said Carroll.
Jaggi told us he recognized the danger, but was more surprised than scared. "Well surprised at least, I wasn't too scared, but it could have been very dangerous if a spark ignited it," he said.
National Fuel crews were quick to arrive on the scene, but shutting off the gas was a little complicated. It took more than a half hour to quiet the hissing sound. According to National Fuel Spokeswoman Sandy James, crews used a valve at one end of the block, then had to dig to the line at the other end, and clamp it off to impact the least number of customers possible.
About 15 homes and a couple of businesses including the DQ were evacuated. It took a couple of hours to make the repairs. By 5:30 PM natural gas service was restored to the neighborhood.
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