Residents Return Home After Gas Leak
Crews from Columbia Gas have repaired the source of a massive gas leak in Fredericksburg.
Update - Aug. 24, 9:30 a.m. - Earlier this morning, crews from Columbia Gas finished repairs to the leaking gas line. Residents returned to their homes about 3:30 a.m., according to a brief press release from Natatia Bledsoe, public information officer with the Fredericksburg Police Department.
Update - 11:54 p.m. - Columbia Gas has located the leak and is beginning repairs to seal it off, according to a brief statement from the Fredericksburg Police Department. It is still unknown how long repairs will take or when residents will be able to return to homes which have been evacuated. Natatia Bledsoe, public information officer for the Fredericksburg Police Department says that she will be releasing more details tomorrow.
If this reporter may be afforded the opportunity to express an opinion, hats off to Fredericksburg rescue services. They've been working double time following this earthquake.
Update - 10:31 p.m. - Columbia Gas of Virginia has released details on the nature of the gas leak affecting downtown Fredericksburg. According to a statement by the company, the gas had leaked into the storm and sanitary sewers beneath the city in the vicinity of the leak.
A portion of the statement reads as follows:
"As part of the company emergency response to the earthquake, Columbia Gas initiated a supplemental pipeline safety survey which identified a leak along Williams Street in downtown Fredericksburg. The leak is on a cast iron section of pipe and in collaboration with the fire and police personnel, a four block section of downtown Fredericksburg has been evacuated as a safety precaution. The natural gas had migrated into the storm and sanitary sewer system’s and company crews are ventilating the natural gas from the sewer systems while making repairs to the pipeline."
Update - 10:20 p.m. - The Fredericksburg Police Department has released the following statement on the current status of the gas leak and surrounding closures.
"The 300 block of William St has been reopened but the remaining areas around William/Pr Edward St are still closed to normal traffic and occupation while Columbia Gas continues to try to isolate the underground leak and make repairs."
Update - 8:12 p.m. - Fredericksburg City Police have issued a statement describing the situation. It warns people in the vicinity of the gas leak not to turn on electronic devices or combustion engines. Here's the full release:
"A gas leak has been detected in the 1000 block of Prince Edward St; according to Columbia Gas the gas is leaking into the city's storm and sanitation sewer system. Evacuations are complete in a 2-3 block radius surrounding the source of the leak. Approximately 220 people were evacuated (unk how many were not home yet) and the area is expected to be closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic for at least another 2 hours.
Columbia Gas has confirmed this is related to the earthquake.
We have shut down the roadways within the perimeter of the following intersections: William at Winchester, Amelia at Pr Edward, Pr Edward at George,and William at Charles.
Fire Dept personnel, the PD, and representatives from Columbia Gas are going door to door to ensure safe evacuations of the residents. Virginia State Police troopers are also assisting.
Residents in the area are advised NOT to turn on or off any electronic items and leave the vicinity in an orderly fashion, taking pets if they are able to do so."
Columbia Gas has cut a hole in the street at Pr Edward and William Sts; this seems to be very close to the leak as the gas is now dissipating into the air and gas readings are reducing."
Original Story -
A gas leak in the 1000 block of Prince Edward Street has much of downtown Fredericksburg closed off and multiple buildings evacuated.
Buildings in a two-to-three block radius of the leak have been evacuated, according to a message posted to Fredericksburg Police Public Information Officer Natatia Bledsoe's blog on Fredericksburg.com
According to an official from Columbia Gas on the scene, the source of the gas is a single leak at the corner of William and Prince Edward streets.
Dan Telvock, assistant regional editor for Patch in Northern Virginia, is on the scene sending updates via text messages. He reports a heavy police presence downtown, with several main downtown arteries closed off in the vicinity of the leak. Popular downtown hangouts Hyperion Coffee and Castiglias restaurant have been evacuated, as have neighboring businesses and residents. Servers from both establishments are hanging out downtown waiting to return to work, but it looks unlikely that the streets will open anytime soon as Columbia Gas crews are still working on the underground gas leak at 8:18 p.m.
This is a developing story. Stay with Patch as the story is updated.