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Published: Tuesday, 4/3/2001

Gas-line rupture disrupts service, forces evacuation

Utility crews work to shut down the natural gas leak at Canton Avenue and State Street. Utility crews work to shut down the natural gas leak at Canton Avenue and State Street.

Several buildings downtown were evacuated when workers broke a 4-inch natural gas line while doing repair work yesterday on an electrical line under State Street and Canton Avenue.

A two-member crew from Utility Construction Co. of Toledo was trying to repair a collapsed electrical conduit for Toledo Edison when the teeth of a backhoe bucket hit the gas line about 2:30 p.m., said Bob Jones, company co-president.

“We never saw the line until we heard it,” he said, adding that Columbia Gas crews had given the company the OK to dig in the area.

Gina Thompson, Columbia Gas spokeswoman, said the street had markings from different companies and an investigation will determine if the lines were marked correctly.

Service was disrupted to five or six buildings in the area until the line was repaired.

Firefighters and Columbia Gas employees cleared several buildings, including Unison Behavioral Health Care Group, 544 East Woodruff Ave. Police blocked streets between the intersections of Canton and Spielbusch, Canton and Cherry Street, East Woodruff and Cherry, and East Woodruff and 14th Street.

No one was hurt. Fire Battalion Chief Jerry Abair said most of the gas heard spewing into the air shot straight up and were dissipated by wind gusts.

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