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Gas leak forces evacuation in Boardman



Published: Wed, March 2, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

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Dominion East Ohio workers and safety officials hustle to locate and shut off gas valves Tuesday afternoon on Hitchcock Road in Boardman.

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Gas was disrupted to 90 homes Tuesday afternoon when a subcontractor for Dominion East Ohio hit a pipe with a backhoe and caused a leak. Service was returned to those homes Tuesday evening.

By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Kim Dundics has lived on Hitchcock Road for more than 20 years, but Tuesday was the first time she had to be evacuated from her home.

“When they’re doing stuff like this (excavating), it happens. You always hope it doesn’t, but it happens,” she said.

Dundics lived in one of the 20 residences evacuated on Hitchcock Road Tuesday afternoon after a contractor’s backhoe struck a gas pipeline causing a leak. The contractor was hired by Dominion East Ohio to install a new pipeline and a Dominion supervisor was there, as well, said Capt. Brian Barber of the Boardman fire department.

Ninety homes lost gas in the neighborhood of Hitchcock, Squirrel Hill and Deer Run Drive, but service returned Tuesday evening, said Neil Durbin, spokesman for Dominion East Ohio.

Dominion employees were on the scene to help repair connections, and the only delay was waiting for homeowners to return, he said.

“We have to go into every individual home and relight every individual appliance. It’s not like electric where you flip a switch,” Durbin said. “We’ll be out there as long as necessary to get the job done.”

Safety officials worked throughout Tuesday afternoon after the leak to shut off five gas valves that run in a loop.

Around 2 p.m. Dundics walked down Hitchcock Road to Boardman Plaza on U.S. Route 224 where transportation was waiting to take her and other evacuees to the Boardman United Methodist Church on Market Street.

“We weren’t allowed to drive our cars as a precaution,” Dundics said, adding firefighters warned the vehicle’s ignition would ignite the gas.

Shortly after that, however, the Red Cross of the Mahoning Valley, which was organizing the shelter, was told that residents were able to return home.

Boardman firefighters received the first call about the gas leak at 12:42 p.m. Tuesday.

There was no explosion or fire, but a loud release of gas led to various reports of a blast at the site, Barber said.

The backhoe struck a 4-inch pipe that connected to an 8-inch pipe and released gas at a “high pressure,” Barber said.

Officials also monitored the air quality, he added.

“As far as the fire department’s concerned, this was an accident,” Barber said.


Comments

1gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

__YET, THIS OHIO __GOVERNOR wants to CUT Fire and Police benefits?

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2bmanresident(597 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Heck Yeah!! Have you seen how much the police chief makes!!! Along with his Golden retirement package totalling over a MILLION dollars!! The unions need busted in this country before they bankrupt us!!

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3biteme(38 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Does it matter to anyone that all of the fire department equipment was at this emergency and they couldn't respond to any other calls? What happens when another emergency call comes in? I guess it doesn't really matter unless it is YOUR house or family member, but that could never happen to YOU.
Forget I even brought it up.

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4Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Dominion East Ohio.will use this to rise your bill . Even if was their fault , it is a cost of doing business . We will all pay and the new Gov. will blame the workers . Love that guy he is so fair

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5georgejeanie(871 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Come on people, we used to have volunteers to do this job, now it is another government job that costs us miilions of dollars. Wakeup and smell the roses, you liberal, union backers, the party is over.

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