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Gas line break

City workers respond to the scene of a gas leak on Monday evening in the 1200 block of North Park Avenue. The situation occurred at about 5:30 p.m. Fremont Police and the Fremont Fire Department went to the site as well. Streets were cordoned off and traffic was restricted.

No one was injured Monday evening after a contractor hit a gas line in Fremont.

The situation occurred at about 5:30 p.m. in the 1200 block of North Park Avenue when Husker Underground Utilities and Construction was boring holes into the ground and hit a 2-inch plastic gas main, said Kirk Hillrichs, City of Fremont gas superintendent.

Hillrichs said the company was making the holes to put in conduit for optic fiber.

“They hit the gas line and it started blowing gas,” he said.

Gas department and emergency personnel were called to the scene. Fremont Fire Department and Fremont Police arrived. Streets were cordoned off. Traffic was restricted in that area.

Capt. Tom Christensen of the Fremont Fire Department said due to the size of the leak and the wind, which was blowing to the north, firefighters contacted neighbors from 12th Street to 14th Street.

Firefighters went door to door, asking neighbors in that area to stay inside. They also asked residents not to smoke or operate a motor vehicle or do anything else that could cause a spark and ignite the gas.

Fremont Police posted a notice on Facebook asking people not to park in the area or light anything using a spark or flame.

Christensen said a dispatcher contacted the emergency management agency for Dodge County, which also sent out a notification.

Meanwhile, gas department workers dug a couple of holes away from the leak and used tools to squeeze off the plastic line.

“Once that was done, the leak was stopped from blowing,” Hillrichs said. “The situation was in hand after that so we did some testing around the houses to make sure there weren’t any issues with gas that migrated up to the houses — which there was not.”

The checking continued.

“We checked a few more houses and checked down the block from where the blower was started to make sure there wasn’t any gas that had gotten down there and was causing issues.”

Christensen also said firefighters checked a couple residents’ homes to make sure no gas was building up in them, which it wasn’t. No detectable gas was found.

One man, whose wife is pregnant, was concerned, but firefighters were able to reassure them that they were safe.

Christensen said if people were worried about the situation, they were told they could go to the Keene Memorial Library (south of the area) and wait, but no one did.

In the meantime, gas department employees dug a hole where the leak was and put in a new piece of pipe and repaired the line, Hillrichs said.

Firefighters were at the scene until 7 p.m., while gas department employees continued working until 8:30 p.m. to finish repairs and make sure everything was working properly. They returned Tuesday to do some cleanup work.

Christensen appreciated cooperation from residents in the affected area.

“Everybody did very well and listened to directions and helped us out,” he said.

Hillrichs also said the company boring the holes has been good to work with and takes precautions. He said they expose lines before they bore holes.

“That way they know where the lines are so they aren’t shooting toward it blind so they know what depth they need to be when they get close to it,” he said.

Hillrichs said the Monday night situation isn’t something that normally happens.

“I think it just was a situation where the borer stem hit something,” Hillrichs said. “There were tree roots and concrete in the hole that could have pushed their rod one way or the other.”

Hillrichs added that if something should happen again that people should avoid the site.

“Don’t be driving around looking,” he said. “We have people who think they need to drive through the barricades and see what’s going on — and that’s the worst thing they can do with a car and a gas exhaust.”

Anyone who thinks he or she has a gas leak in their home should call the utilities department at 402-727-2613. If the person taking the call thinks the situation warrants it, the caller may be told to get out of their home.

If someone thinks a gas line was hit, he or she should call 911 — even if they suspect someone might have called.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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