LIMA — Four homes and one business on the northern edge of Lima were evacuated briefly on Monday after a gas line was struck and ruptured.
The incident occurred at approximately 11:45 a.m. on North West Street near the intersection of Northern Avenue. Crews from the city of Lima reportedly were doing excavation work as part of an ongoing highway project in the area when the gas line was ruptured, according to Peggy Ehora, external affairs manager for Dominion Energy.
“It happens, especially when you have a lot of utilities working within a small easement area,” Ehora said of the accident. “The evacuations were ordered by the fire department as a safety measure. Safety is first and foremost for us (the gas company) and fortunately no one was hurt. Secondly, there was no interruption of service to our customers,” who were serviced by an alternate gas line.
Residents of four homes on the west side of North West Street, immediately north of Northern Avenue, were evacuated for some 2 1/2 hours as a precaution as gas company officials and crews attempted to locate the nearest gas shut-off valve. Employees at an Enterprise Rent-A-Car business across the street were also evacuated.
A southerly wind led to the decision to evacuate as a safeguard against the possibility of a gas explosion, said Capt. Jack McDermit of the Lima Fire Department.
The gas shut-off value eventually was located — in the middle of West Street — some two hours after the rupture took place.
By shortly after 2 p.m. residents were permitted to return to their homes. Employees at the car rental agency, however, were nowhere to be found. Bath Township fire and rescue personnel were looking through business cards attempting to find someone to notify. Eventually the alarm to the business was intentionally triggered in the hopes that the alarm company could notify an employee of the business.
Ehora said Dominion crews were repairing the ruptured gas line Monday afternoon. All repairs were expected to be completed by 5 p.m., she said.
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.