Residents evacuated after gas leak
Half a city block was evacuated this past week after a road grader hit a gas main six inches below ground, Hillsboro fire chief Ben Steketee said.
“I’m sure it was buried deeper,” he said. “With erosion and the work that takes place, the grade comes down.”
Residents in the 100 block between N. Lincoln and N. Washington Sts. were evacuated Wednesday as a precaution, but there were no incidents or injuries, Steketee said.
“Gas is lighter than air so it rises up, and the wind was out of the south,” he said. “We were relatively sure no one was in danger.”
Hillsboro fire department and Atmos Energy both had monitored the leak, but shutting off the gas was challenging for Atmos employees, Steketee said.
“That was quite an ordeal because of the gas main,” he said. “They had to find three places to shut it off.”
According to Steketee, two of the mains didn’t have valves to turn off, so employees had to drill through the pipe and place plugs while the line was live.
Captain Matt Hein was incident commander as first on scene, and Steketee was happy to keep Hein in charge.
“It’s great training because I’m not going to be chief forever,” Steketee said. “It’s good to groom people who can move into my position.”