100 residents evacuated after gas line is broken Backhoe hits pipe in Westminster

August 22, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

More than 100 residents along East Main Street were evacuated from their homes after a backhoe ruptured a high-pressure gas line Friday in downtown Westminster.

There was no explosion or fire, and no one was injured.

The 3-inch plastic line, carrying pressure of 100 pounds per square inch, was pulled from the ground by construction equipment about 11:50 a.m. It had been installed by Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. during recent reconstruction of the 100 block of E. Main St.

The rush of gas could be heard on Willis Street, more than a block from the break near Lincoln Street.

Bob Shultz, assistant chief of the Westminster fire company, said light winds spread natural gas fumes

throughout the area, requiring the evacuation.

Westminster police and fire departments and several volunteers, one of them an off-duty firefighter from Baltimore County, notified residents of the evacuation.

Those evacuated from the area bounded by Longwell, Center, )) Green and Willis streets were moved to locations nearby -- some to Westminster United Methodist Church at Center and East Main, others to the fire station on Main Street.

Several were taken to City Hall because they could not walk to the other locations or because they were in wheelchairs and needed some assistance.

Fire units from Westminster, New Windsor and Gamber were dispatched to the scene, along with medic units from Westminster, Reese, Pleasant Valley and New Windsor, said Kevin Utz, public information officer for the Westminster fire company.

The utility company shut off the gas at 1:30 p.m. and worked to replace the ruptured line. Residents were then allowed to return to their homes.

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