By GARY POPP
Residents of a Clarksville neighborhood behind Green Tree Mall were safely returned to their homes after high-pressure natural gas entered the surrounding sewer system Friday morning.
Clarksville fire and police officials went door-to-door in the neighborhood to evacuate people from about 20 homes, said Clarksville Fire Department Lt. Col. Deputy Chief James Hendrick. He said all residences in a two-block radius of the home, located one house from the intersection of Blackiston View and Thames drives, were evacuated. Hendrick said staff members of a residential day care in the area organized their own evacuation prior to firefighters’ arrival.
No one was injured during the incident.
A private contractor working outside of a home in the 1600 block of Blackiston View Drive about 11:30 a.m. had cut a sewer line when a natural gas line leading to the home was damaged.
“A [natural gas] line was ruptured and it was feeding into the sewer system,” said Hendrick. “You had [natural gas] concentrations going through the sewer system in lateral directions underground.”
He said Vectren natural gas officials responded to the scene and were “very aggressive” in shutting off the gas.
Hendrick said at about 1:15 p.m. that emergency officials were still waiting for gas concentrations in two residences to subside. By 1:45, Vectren officials gave the all-clear and roadblocks set up around the area were removed so people could return home.
“If the natural gas found an ignition source it could cause an explosion, if it is within its flammable range,” Hendrick said.
He said it had not been determined how the gas line was ruptured. The area is just north of the Green Tree Mall.