Gas line repaired but questions remain - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gas line repaired but questions remain

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Crews worked all day Thursday to repair the cut line. Crews worked all day Thursday to repair the cut line.
PRICEVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Utility crews completed repairs to a broken natural gas line after a major leak in Priceville Wednesday night. Workers were installing a new utility pole along Highway 67, across from the Wavaho gas station, when they cut into the line.

Wheeler Basin Natural Gas said a contractor was digging a hole to install the pole, when workers cut into a four-inch line, sending natural gas into the air. WBNG declined an on-camera interview, but in a statement, said:

‘Diversified Services, Incorporated, the contractor who hit the line, appeared to have had the area utilities located and marked properly, however the incident is still under review.'

Wednesday night, emergency personnel responded to the scene and cleared the area. Portions of Hwy. 67 and nearby streets were shut down. Officials turned on a siren to warn residents within a one-mile radius to stay indoors. About three hours later, utility crews pinched off the leak, shutting off the flow of gas. The all-clear was then given by another siren.

"You couldn't have anyone moving through the area. If someone was smoking or if there was a spark or a car backfired, it could have been a very dangerous situation," said Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran.

Some residents said they had no idea what was going on. Others said they didn't even hear the sirens. Still others said they were confused by the automated message that told them of a chemical accident in the area.

A neighbor called to alert resident James Travers. "He says, is the house still standing, and I said yeah why, what's happening," said Travers. "He said you've got a gas leak by the Wavaho. The sirens started going off and on, off and on."

"We could have just sounded the siren itself, but we felt like using one that would tell people a little bit more about what was going on was a better choice," said Eddie Hicks with Morgan County Emergency Management. "We don't have a lot of messages we can use, so the chemical accident was the closest that we had. Gas is a chemical, so it fit the situation."

Crews completed the repairs Thursday evening. WBNG said there is no longer any danger to nearby residents.

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