layton homes evacuated after gas line break

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 3:10 PM

Loretta Park

LAYTON — Mike Crowley was getting ready to start his day when a knock on his door changed his plans.

His home was among four residences evacuated from two duplexes on the east side of University Park Boulevard for about four hours after a backhoe cut a 4-inch diameter, plastic gas line at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

“I’ve been sitting in my car on the road waiting for them to give the all-clear,” Crowley said at 11 a.m.

Darren Shepherd, spokesman for Questar Gas, said the repairs to the gas line took most of the day because crews had to dig three holes — two on University Boulevard in Layton and one on 1450 South in Clearfield — before they could start repairing it. The line runs along the border of Clearfield and Layton and is a main line that feeds gas to smaller lines going to the residential and business areas.

Construction crews were digging in the area when the operator of the backhoe cut into the gas line, Shepherd said.

Questar crews dug three holes to get to the gas line and clamped the line shut in those locations so gas could no longer feed into the line.

By noon, only one home was without service.

A Layton public works employee was in the area and could smell natural gas at 8 a.m., said Doug Bitton, public information officer with the Layton Fire Department. The employee called 911.

“We discovered the pipe was not the size of the average residential pipe, but it’s a main distribution pipe, which is 4 inches in diameter,” Bitton said.

Bitton said emergency crews closed University Park Boulevard from 2100 North for several hours.

The weather conditions were perfect to rid the area of the smell. Natural gas, which is flammable, does not smell, so companies add Mercaptan to it, which does smell, Bitton said.

Weber State University-Davis and North Layton Junior High School are close to the break, but were not evacuated because the gas did not reach those areas. Bitton said crews did check Davis North Hospital for gas after receiving reports of a natural gas odor in the hospital, but found no gas in the hospital. The hospital is west of the incident.

Bitton said Layton Fire Department had four engines at the scene and other agencies also sent emergency personnel.

“This is a full assignment,” Bitton said. “We (could) hear the hiss from the natural gas.”

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