Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

July 2, 2013

Gas line ruptured Monday afternoon near local Barber Shop

By Rob Cox Greensburg Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – The distinct odor of natural gas pervaded a tiny portion of Michigan and Sheridan Streets Monday afternoon near Wagner’s Barber Shop when a construction crew installing a fence hit an underground gas line.

In addition to the Barber Shop, members of the Greensburg Fire Department (GFD) also evacuated an adjacent residence as they waited for a representative from Vectren Power Company to assess the damage.

GFD Captain Mark Baldwin, who did an initial assessment on scene, told the Daily News the ruptured underground equipment appeared to be “two-inch line.”

Baldwin downplayed the danger, calling it minimal.

Added GFD Firefighter Andy Whitkemper, “This really doesn’t present too great a danger since it’s outside. If this were an indoor leak now, then you’d be talking about a more serious hazard.”

F & S Construction contractors Doug Puckett and Dewayne Bradley were gathered across from the GFD firefighters, waiting with a small group of evacuees for an all-clear signal. The men were installing an outside wood fence for Wagner’s when they hit the underground line.

According to Puckett, he and Bradley did all due diligence in following Vectren’s guidance regarding the location of the lines.

“We followed the 811 guidelines very closely,” Puckett said, adding that he and Bradley “were a foot-and-a-half from where the gas lines were supposed to be.”

To avoid causing damage to existing structures, Puckett explained, contractors call “811” before performing any work. 811, he said, then coordinates with all relevant utility companies who might have equipment in the area where construction will be performed.

“Somebody got it really wrong,” he said.

A Vectren representative later confirmed with the Daily News that the damaged equipment was, in actuality, a half-inch line. The representative’s comments otherwise jibed with those of the GFD, in that the damage was minor, easily contained and offered no real hazard to residents or to the environment.

Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011