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Gas leak forces businesses and homes to be evacuated

By: Gabriel Roxas Email
By: Gabriel Roxas Email

People have been allowed back in their homes in Boyle County, restaurants and businesses are clear to re-open after a gas line break.

Workers hit a gas line Tuesday afternoon on Hustonville Road in Danville. A shopping center, including several restaurants, a Taco Bell, Arbys, Fazollis, Long John Silver, Wendys, and others were evacuated and the area shut down.

This comes while images from last week in California are still fresh in the minds of many. In that case, people reported a gas smell before the blast. Tuesday, people smelled gas around the Hustonville Road area in Danville, but authorities tell NEWSFIRST, that's where the similarities ended.

After hours of work, Danville Fire Marshall Ken Pflug had reason to feel comfortable about the progress of fixing the gas leak on Hustonville Road, but he's constantly aware of the possibility of the worst case scenario. "We could be standing here talking, and all of a sudden, something malfunctions, and it could light off," Pflug said Tuesday night seven hours into the repairs.

That's why firefighters and police shut down Hustonville Road and the surrounding area south of Mason Avenue all the way to the South Danville Bypass evacuating several businesses and ten homes. A restaurant at the edge of the barricade remained open, but for many businesses just south of it, the gas break has had a major economic impact.

"When Atmos first came on and they located it, they said this is a four-inch main. We need to dig two holes, one on either side of the main and then block it off from there. Well they started the first hole, and they hit a service line, a water service line," Pflug said. He added that additional technical difficulties continued to complicate a procedure that can often take no more than three hours to complete. News of the gas leak reminded many of the recent gas explosion in San Bruno, California, but Plug says residents can take comfort in the difference in the size of the leak and the amount of gas released. "There is no comparison between it," he explained, "This is a main line for services. The one in California, if I'm not mistaken was a thirty-inch transmission line."

Nonetheless, emergency officials weren't taking any chances as the work continued. "The explosion hazard is the reason for the evacuation. Any time you have a natural gas leak of this magnitude, that is always a possibility," Pflug said.

Fire officials say workers will be able to repair the water line without having to close any roads in the area.

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