ELYRIA — A ruptured natural gas line shut down a section of Elyria for several hours Wednesday.
Off-duty firefighters and police officers called in to for backup after an 8-inch line was punctured about 1:30 p.m. during a construction project to install relief sewers in the area of East Avenue and Fourth Street.
Columbia Gas finished repairs on the line about 7:20 p.m. and electricity was turned back on and roads were opened shortly after.
“It’s such a high-pressure line; it’s not like a line that goes into your house. This is a major distribution line. They have to do this very cautiously and in steps.” Assistant Fire Capt. Joe Pronesti said during the repairs
Elyria firefighters respond to a gas leak at the corner of East Ave. and 4th St., in Elyria, on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 15.
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Pronesti said he couldn’t recall another event in his 30 years that required such a huge and coordinated response from the city.
During the incident, roads south of Third Street and east of Middle Avenue were cordoned off with police tape while residents in the area were told to stay inside.
Cars and pedestrians were rerouted for pickup at nearby Elyria High School and students at St. Mary’s School were moved from individual classrooms into one spot together for pickup.
Pronesti said the rain Wednesday was helpful to authorities because it kept people inside. Just before 5 p.m., power was cut to surrounding buildings because a high-voltage transmission line supplying electricity presented a risk to provide an ignition source to the gas.
The Fire Department said no injuries were reported; LifeCare and a representative of University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center said they hadn’t seen an influx of patients from the gas leak.
The contractor that reportedly punctured the line is Underground Utilities Inc. of Monroeville. Kevin Brubaker, assistant safety services director, said the gas line was marked and there probably will be an investigation into how it was ruptured. It is not expected to delay the sewer relief project.
“The city and the Fire Department and Columbia Gas are working diligently to get this back on track; just be patient,” Brubaker said.
Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.