July 10, 2013

South side gas leak capped after 5 hours

Residents evacuated from homes Tuesday morning


---- — A gas leak at Bartlett and Cicott streets was capped at 2 p.m. Tuesday, five hours after an excavator struck and ruptured a 6-inch steel gas main.

Joe Deichman, superintendent of Deichman Excavating Co., said a crew was working on the Cliff Drive sewer project where the gas line made a 45-degree turn into the crew’s trench and was struck with the excavator.

The project crew members were excavating is part of a long-term control plan which is a combination of stormwater and wastewater upgrades, said Jim Jackson, Logansport Municipal Utility manager of the water, wastewater and stormwater department.

The main was hit with the excavator at 8:50 a.m. Deichman said NIPSCO and the proper authorities, including Logansport Fire Department and others, were notified immediately.

“We immediately shut down equipment, trucks down for safety reasons,” Diechman said.

Alvin Beckman, director of the Cass County Emergency Management Agency, said residences in the area were evacuated one block south on Cicott Street and one block east on Bartlett Street as a precaution.

Railroad traffic in the area was shut down to avoid any possibility of sparks and a portion of Ind. 25, between Beal Street and Cliff Drive, was shut down as a precaution.

After the leak was capped and the site was stabilized, residents were permitted to return to their homes and the railroad reopened. Cicott Street remained closed at Bartlett and Shultz Streets, Beckman said.

Stephanie Vandiver, public affairs manager for NIPSCO, said NIPSCO officials received a call early Tuesday morning to go out and observe the area. She said officials sent a capping crew to shut off the gas, which affected six customers.

“We know it’s an inconvenience, but we appreciate the cooperation,” Vandivers said.

Throughout the morning and early afternoon Tuesday a gas odor could be smelled through Logansport. Beckman said gas was roaring out and NIPSCO received calls from people on the south side and downtown.

Logansport Fire Department, Logansport Police Department, Cass County EMA, special forces to help with traffic control and NIPSCO responded to the leak.

“The Logansport Fire Department did such a good job evacuating the area and making sure everyone was safe,” Vandiver said. “We appreciate their help and support.”

Vandiver wanted to remind people it’s important to call before they dig.

“When something like this happens it is always investigated, but we do know what happened because the initial call came from the contractor,” Vandiver said. “Sometimes these things still happen, because the contractor did call for a locate.”

Part of the investigation will include making sure the locations are accurate. Vandiver said they were hoping to get customers relit Tuesday evening.