5 homes evacuated after gas lines struck


Five homes were evacuated after gas line breaks Wednesday morning.

Officials said the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, known as BPU, was doing repairs in the area of 72nd Street and Berger Avenue in Kansas City, KS, when a crew struck two, 1 1/2-inch natural gas lines about 11:30 a.m.

"Our crews were digging to replace a water valve," David Mehlaff, spokesman for BPU, said in a written statement. "The gas company locator only marked one gas line. We located that line along with a phone line. We hit a second gas line that was not marked."

Five homes in a square block area where the gas lines were struck were evacuated, but officials said many people weren't home at the time.

No injuries were reported and the gas company crews had the leaks under control within an hour. Families were able to return to their homes after fire hazmat crews checked their air quality.

Before crews dig in an area, they make sure all utilities are marked properly so they know where it's safe to work. Fire officials said the markings were not in the area, indicating where the gas lines were located, and they believe incorrect marking caused crews to hit the gas line.

Natural gas utility company Atmos disagreed saying the area was marked.

"We have just verified through the KCC (Kansas Corporation Commission) inspector that our steel line that was not carrying gas WAS marked, and that the plastic line beside it, that was carrying gas, WAS within the 24" locate tolerance," a spokesperson said in a written statement.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.


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