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Gas leaks prompt area evacuations

Posted: September 14, 2010 - 10:33pm

Accidents in three Faulkner County locations Tuesday caused residential and commercial areas to be evacuated because of compromised Centerpoint Energy natural gas pipelines.

 

Eighty St. Andrews Place Nursing Home residents were evacuated Tuesday afternoon when, according to Alicia Dixon, spokesperson for Centerpoint Energy, a contractor struck a gas line near College Avenue and Reedy Road.

According to Amy Springer, public information officer for the Conway Fire Department, nursing home residents were transported with the assistance of Conway School District buses and MEMS to Conway Regional Medical Center for bed patients, and Woodland Heights Baptist Church for ambulatory residents.

“Right now we are evacuating because it is a main gas line. They’re going to have to decrease the pressure enough to cap the line and seal it off. There’s too much pressure to do that yet,” Springer said at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Springer said she did not know how long residents would be displaced.

At 7:40 a.m., Arkansas State Police officers and Guy Police Department responded to a one-vehicle accident where a man lost control of his vehicle and struck an electrical pole and a gas meter.

GPD Chief Dave Martini said that a quarter of a mile perimeter was evacuated, including a small industrial area and homes near Guy city limits’ south side.

“It caused a lot of gas to come out. The meter was attached to one of the big, older pipelines,” Martini said. Martini said the motorist attempted to pick something up from the floorboard of his vehicle and veered off of the road.

The man was not transported and appeared to have sustained little injury, according to Martini.

The city of Guy lost power for some time and a portion of Highway 25 was closed, and traffic was rerouted for almost three hours.

Martini said that the line was capped by Centerpoint Energy and the area was secured by the afternoon.

A third incident was reported at about 9 a.m. in Conway on College Avenue, near Wescon Lane.

According to Tommy Shackelford, chief operating officer at Conway Corp., the company was attempting to excavate for the installation of a new, 8-inch water main pipe.

“A 4-inch gas main was damaged during the excavation,” Shackelford said. “It was repaired, and everything is fine now.”

Kenny Wiedower, division chief at the Conway Fire Department, said that the amount of gas being released was cause for alarm, and a nearby residence was evacuated.

Dixon said the two gas leaks that occurred in west Conway were unrelated.

“Obviously safety is our No. 1 goal, and after that, to make repairs without losing customers. Those are the two things we are working on right now,” Dixon said. “We’ve implemented our emergency response plan, and we’re repairing the leak at College Avenue and Reedy Road. Of course, once the situation is stable, we’ll conduct a full evaluation.”

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

 

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