Gas leak causes hour-long evacuation
Four buildings were evacuated for about an hour and six were left without natural gas service much of Friday after an electrical contractor struck a natural gas line during work on Grand Avenue.By Dennis WebbPost Independent StaffGLENWOOD SPRINGS – Four buildings were evacuated for about an hour and six were left without natural gas service much of Friday after an electrical contractor struck a natural gas line during work on Grand Avenue.Traffic on Glenwood’s main drag also was briefly rerouted onto Blake Avenue between 10th and 15th streets while crews repaired the line.Glenwood Springs Fire Capt. Darryl Queen said a worker with Electrical Excellence out of Colorado Springs struck a 2-inch-diameter line at about 11:15 a.m.Queen said that apparently, work had been conducted to locate the gas line, but the markings were lost when the asphalt was torn up. A representative with gas supplier Kinder Morgan was brought out to help find the line, but the contractor felt comfortable starting the work before line’s location was clear, Queen said.The incident took place between 13th and 14th street, said KM spokeswoman Natalie Shelbourn.”We had seven men there within minutes from Kinder Morgan,” she said.The electrical work was being conducted in conjunction with the Grand Avenue Paving Project, or GAPP. Shelbourn said repairing the line took longer than normal because the ground was so compacted from the paving project that workers had to bring in a small track hoe to dig up the line.Glenwood Springs police Lt. Bill Kimminau said the gas could be smelled as many as five blocks away.Mary Anderson, a teller at the US Bank drive-through, which was evacuated, said the impact of the leak could have been worse.”It was about lunchtime anyway,” she said. “And our business has been slow because of the GAPP project.”She said the gas smell was noticeable mostly outside the building, and not inside.The leak resulted in an extended lunch hour for some Glenwood Springs High School students. Kimminau said those who had left the school for lunch were kept out of the building until the leak was fixed, to make it easier to evacuate the school had that become necessary.The rerouting of Grand Avenue traffic forced it to back up downtown. Kimminau said once traffic was allowed back on Grand, police first directed southbound traffic down the double northbound lanes to eliminate the traffic snarl. Southbound Grand Avenue is currently restricted to one lane due to the GAPP project.Buildings left without gas service due to the leak were expected to have it restored by late Friday afternoon or early that evening, Shelbourn said.Shelbourn said KM would investigate the leak’s cause.”Our first concern is always to get the line hit fixed and get our customers back on gas,” she said.She said if a contractor is found at fault, KM seeks to recover costs associated with a leak.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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