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Quick action averts trouble from gas leak

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Serious consequences from a residential gas leak north of downtown Columbus were averted by the quick response of one of the home’s occupants and firefighters.

A woman was hanging clothes on a half-inch gas line in her basement Monday evening when the line broke and gas started to leak into the house in the 1500 block of Sycamore Street.

The resident left the home with her children and called 911. Columbus firefighters from stations 1 and 3 responded and shut off the natural gas to the house, according to a news release from the Columbus Fire Department.

“This was a dangerous situation, but the tenant did the right thing by acting quickly and calling 911,” said CFD Capt. David Dwyer.

A gas indicator had measured the amount of natural gas in the home at 4 percent.

“I have never seen that high of reading inside a structure before,” Dwyer said.

Authorities said that nearby residences were not evacuated because the gas in the home quickly dissipated.

Firefighters and employees of the gas company stayed at the scene for about 45 minutes.

To avoid gas line accidents, Columbus Fire Chief Dave Allmon urged residents to take precautions, such as contacting landlords or service providers to identify utility lines that run into their homes.

Authorities also urged residents to leave areas immediately if they suspect a gas leak. Signs of a gas leak include a rotten egg smell and/or a blowing or hissing sound. Only after leaving the area should residents call 911.

Recognize gas leaks, react and report

Signs of a natural gas leak include:

  • A rotten egg odor
  • A blowing or hissing sound
  • Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area
  • Flames, if a leak has ignited
  • Dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground
  • Bubbling in wet or flooded areas.
  • If you see unusual activity near a gas line or if you suspect a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately, call 911 and:
  • Do not use any electrical devices, such as light switches, telephones or appliances, including garage door openers. They could spark and ignite the gas.
  • Do not use an open flame, matches or lighters.
  • Do not try to locate the source of the gas leak.
  • Do not try to shut off any gas valves or appliances.
  • Do not start vehicles.
  • Do not re-enter the building or return to the area until emergency responders say it is safe to do so.
  • If the natural gas ignites, let it burn. Do not put out the flame, burning gas will not explode.
  • If you are digging and think you might have damaged a natural gas pipeline, leave the area immediately.

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