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Published: Friday, 6/1/2007

Gas lines broken twice in one day in East Toledo

Columbia Gas workers use a backhoe to repair the second break of a natural gas line yesterday at Oak and Fassett streets. A contractor struck pipes four feet apart at 1:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.
Columbia Gas workers use a backhoe to repair the second break of a natural gas line yesterday at Oak and Fassett streets. A contractor struck pipes four feet apart at 1:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.
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A city contractor installing a trunk water line along Fassett Street in East Toledo struck natural gas lines twice yesterday, with the second break resulting in an hour-long evacuation of about 50 people.

Fire officials ordered a one-block radius of Oak and Fassett streets sealed off after the rupture of a four-inch, medium-pressure plastic line, reported at about 6:15 p.m. They withdrew the evacuation order after the leak was stopped at about 7:05.

Less than five hours earlier - at about 1:30 p.m. - contractor Crestline Paving & Excavating Co. had called Columbia Gas to report the puncture of a six-inch, low-pressure plastic gas line under Fassett.

It was repaired by about 2:30 p.m., with no loss of gas service, said Chris Kozak, a utility spokesman. About 20 Columbia customers lost gas service for what was expected to be several hours after the second break.

Mary Costilla, second from left, watches the repair crews after she was evacuated. With her are, from left, Thomas Campos; Arturo Beltran, 6, and Mrs. Costilla s son, Joe Campos.
Mary Costilla, second from left, watches the repair crews after she was evacuated. With her are, from left, Thomas Campos; Arturo Beltran, 6, and Mrs. Costilla s son, Joe Campos.
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The two lines were about four feet apart. The breaks occurred in an area where Crestline was moving a catch basin yesterday, said Jennifer Reams, the contractor's safety director.

She said she was not sure why the pipes were struck, but added that the gas line might not have been marked correctly.

Mary Costilla, who lives in a 15-unit apartment building at Oak and Fassett, was initially scared when a maintenance woman ran up to her third-floor apartment, short of breath and sweating, to tell Ms. Costilla to leave.

But it was all a precaution, Toledo Fire Battalion Chief Jerry Abair said.

"When it first happens, you play it safe and you get a handle on what's going on," he said.

For Angie Cole, who lives on Oak Street, several houses away from the apartment building, "evacuating" meant simply walking outside her home to her lawn where she offered chairs to Ms. Costilla and others.

"Gave me time to sit down," said Ms. Cole, who added that she otherwise would have been washing dishes before heading off to work the third shift.



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