10 homes evacuated, more than 200 Washington City residents affected when gas line ruptured

WASHINGTON CITY — A ruptured natural gas line Wednesday caused the evacuation of 10 homes near the Green Springs Golf Course in Washington City and kept Questar Gas crews at the scene working overnight to restore gas service to more than 200 homes.

A gas leak in Washington City has caused the evacuation of 8-10 homes in the area and disrupted service to over 200 residents, Washington, Utah, May 11, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
A gas leak in Washington City caused the evacuation of about 10 homes in the area and disrupted service to over 200 residents, Washington, Utah, May 11, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Questar Gas received a call at 4:30 p.m., telling the company that a contractor had accidentally hit a 4-inch plastic gas main line, Questar Gas Operations Manager Brett Brown said.

Emergency personnel from Washington City Police Department and Washington City Fire Department were also dispatched to the scene and officers began taping off a one block area near 1282 Fairway Drive, Washington City Fire Captain Cole Furley said.

Officers then went door to door informing residents living in the immediate area, approximately 8-10 homeowners, that an evacuation was necessary to ensure their safety, Furley said.

Firefighters from Washington City Fire Department are on scene during gas leak in Washington Citythat has caused the evacuation of 8-10 homes in the area, Washington, Utah, May 11, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Firefighters from Washington City Fire Department on scene during a gas leak in Washington City that caused the evacuation of 8-10 homes in the area, Washington, Utah, May 11, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Once the gas line had been cracked, natural gas began dissipating into the air, Brown said. At that point, technicians from Questar immediately mobilized to the area and additional technicians from throughout the region were called in to assist in the repair and restoration process.

As a safety requirement, Questar Gas technicians went from house to house and turned the gas meters off. When the gas main was broken, technicians were concerned that air pockets would be created within the line because of the resulting low pressure. To remove any air pockets, technicians must purge the line, which requires the gas to be turned off at each residence beforehand, Questar Gas Media and Public Relations Manager Darren Shephard said.

Service technicians from Questar Gas on scene completing repair of broken natural gas line where over 200 customers lost service, Washington, Utah, May 11, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Service technicians from Questar Gas on scene completing repair of broken natural gas line where over 200 customers lost service, Washington, Utah, May 11, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The repair was completed at approximately 10 p.m. and the line pressurized. Additional technicians are working throughout the night to restore service to the affected homes, Sheppard said.

Technicians are going from house to house, turning the gas meters on and relighting pilots inside the residence.  If a homeowner is away, then a card is left advising of the outage and contact information is provided for customers to call for assistance.

An investigation into the incident is underway, Shephard said. In the event that a natural gas line is broken while digging, several factors are taken into account to determine who is liable for the repair and restoration costs.  The details are unknown at this time, he said.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

The Washington City Police Department, Washington City Fire Department, and technicians and emergency repair personnel from Questar Gas responded.

Public service reminder: It is important to always call 811, which reaches an underground utility locating service that is local to you, prior to starting a project that involves digging– whether you are a contractor using heavy equipment or a homeowner putting in a new fence – Blue Stakes of Utah, or the applicable locator company, will mark underground utility lines for free in order to prevent accidents and ensure people stay safe.

St. George News Reporter Ric Wayman contributed to this report.

Resources

Blue Stakes of Utah website – to locate underground utility lines

Call 811 for service in locating underground utility lines – national hotline

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

St. George News Reporter Ric Wayman contributed to this report.

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Ron May 12, 2016 at 8:15 am

    We reside just across the street from the Green Springs Golf course clubhouse, about a 1/4 mile from it. The odor of natural gas was in the air most of the evening.
    Glad no one was injured. But an inconvenience for many.

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