Natural gas leak forces officials to evacuate 25 area residents


Gainesville Regional Utilities employee Shawn Smith uses a mini-excavator Wednesday to expose a leaking gas line at the intersection of NE 4th Avenue and NE Boulevard. A directional bore used by a crew from MasTec Inc. to run telephone lines under NE 4th Avenue reportedly caused the leak.

JARRETT BAKER/SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Published: Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 11:32 p.m.
A natural gas leak in northeast Gainesville forced the evacuation of 25 residents to the Alachua County Headquarters Library on Wednesday afternoon, according to Gainesville Fire Rescue.
A vacuum sewer cleaning company hit a 3-inch natural gas line at about 3:13 p.m., causing an unknown amount of gas to leak onto the right of way at the southeast corner of NE 4th Avenue and NE Boulevard, GFR spokeswoman Shawna Traub said. Residents within a one-block radius were evacuated to the Alachua County Headquarters Library in downtown Gainesville for 1 hours as crews worked to fix the leak, Traub said.
No one was injured.
Gainesville Regional Utilities crews worked into the night to fix the leak, said GRU spokeswoman Marsha Anderson. GRU shut down gas lines leading into the severed line, cutting service to six customers, Anderson said.
This is the third such natural gas leak in two weeks. A southwest Gainesville family was briefly evacuated from their home on Aug. 25 after plumbers struck a gas pipe underneath their driveway. Plumbers severed a line at 615 SW 12th St. while they installed a new sewage line beneath the family's driveway, officials said.
Another gas line was ruptured on Aug. 24 at Westwood Middle School at 3215 NW 15th Ave. just 45 minutes after school was dismissed. The gas pipe, measuring three-quarters of an inch, was accidentally cut by subcontractors working for the Alachua County School Board.
An increase in new construction and the installation of underground utilities has triggered an increase in such accidents, Anderson said.
Deborah Ball can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or balld@gvillesun.com

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top