Roads closed due to gas leak

By Sara Bruestle | May 08, 2013

Roads in Old Town were blocked off for more than an hour Thursday afternoon due to a break in a natural gas line.

A construction crew was working on a water line after 1:45 p.m. near the intersection of Washington Avenue and Goat Trail Road when a worker hit a gas line, causing a leak, according to the Mukilteo Fire Department.

The worker had accidentally cut into a three-inch natural gas pipe that was next to the water meter. A Puget Sound Energy crew was able to shut off the gas around 3 p.m., more than an hour later.

Mukilteo firefighters responded to the scene at 1:50 p.m. and called PSE to shut off the gas.

Roads around Washington Avenue and Goat Trail Road were closed while crews worked to clamp the gas line. The roads were back open by 3:10 p.m.

“The reason it took so long was because it was right next to the gas meter,” said Assistant Fire Chief Brian McMahan. “It was right at a ‘T.’ The gas was coming from more than one direction.”

The crew had to shut off gas to several homes off of Goat Trail Road. McMahan said the workers weren’t able to turn the gas back on until all of the appliances in each home were turned off.

McMahan said the gas line had been blowing for 70 minutes before the PSE crew of seven was able to clamp the pipe.

“You could hear it,” he said. “It was almost whistling out, making a high-pitched sound because it was coming out so fast.”

They were lucky that the wind on Thursday helped to dissipate the gas and minimize the risk of sparking an explosion, McMahan said.

Mukilteo police helped put up roadblocks around 2 p.m. at Goat Trail Road and Goat Trail Loop Road, Goat Trail Road and the Mukilteo Speedway, and 5th Street and Lincoln Avenue to reduce the spark risk.

“We don’t want people driving through because they are an ignition source with their car,” McMahan said.

Residents were notified of the gas leak and told to not leave their homes and not to turn any electrical switches on or off.

“There could have been an explosion as the gas traveled out,” McMahan said, “though it is a lot less likely to do that outside.”

After PSE turned the gas back on, workers had to go to each home and manually re-light each appliance, McMahan said.

Natural gas is odorless, colorless and non-toxic in its natural state. It is also flammable.

PSE adds a distinctive rotten-eggs smell to the gas so that it can be detected if there is a leak.

If you detect a leak, leave the area immediately. Call 911 or PSE 24/7 at 1-888-225-5773. Do not use phones (cell or land lines) near the leak. Do not do anything that may cause a spark.

 

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