Gas leak forced temporary evacuations in Pike County

Construction crew hit 24 inch gas line

LACKAWAXEN TOWNSHIP, PIKE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - An investigation is underway in Pike County to determine exactly how a construction crew ruptured a 24-inch gas line Wednesday evening.

The incident forced more than 100 people to evacuate their homes for several hours.

There was no pipeline work going on Thursday along Westcolang Road in Lackawaxen Township.

That is where a construction crew hit a pipeline involved with the Tennessee Gas Pipeline system just after 5:00 PM Wednesday evening.

It caused a large release of natural gas.

"It was a not-pleasant situation," homeowner Witold Pawlik said.

Pawlik lives just down the street in the Fawn Lake housing development.

He was outside painting his deck when he heard what sounded like a bomb go off and then he started to smell gas.

He was one of the people who was told to leave his home.

"The security from our community came and told us to go to the club house," Pawlik said.

The owner of a home right next to the pipeline project said the gas leak was so forceful it actually caused her home to shake and her windows to rattle. She said she didn't know what was going on at first.

Firefighters and emergency workers rushed to the scene.

Because they could hear the natural gas venting, they set up a perimeter and went door-to-door, evacuating roughly 130 people.

"It sounded like a freight train constantly venting off," Michael Donovan said.

Michael Donovan is with the local ambulance company.

He says power was also shut off in the area because the gas could have damaged power lines above but cutting service also eliminated any potential ignition sources which might have sparked an explosion.

He says first responder training and experience really paid off.

"We side-stepped that (explosion) by having no ignition. The grid was shut off in time to make sure there was no power nearby that would end up giving a spark," Donovan said.

Kinder Morgan, the company responsible for the pipeline project, tells Eyewitness News in a statement that no injuries were reported in Wednesday's incident and repairs will be made to the pipeline itself.

Residents near the scene were out of their homes for roughly three hours.


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