The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gas leak forces Carlisle School evacuation

A 2-inch plastic gas line at the school was accidentaly gouged on Tuesday. (Photo by David Flannery)

All work came to a stop on the Carlisle School campus on Tuesday morning, August 10, after an excavator hit a gas line between the Wilkins and Corey buildings. There were approximately 25 people on the campus at the time, including music students, reported Carlisle School Buildings and Grounds Supervisor David Flannery, who is also the town Fire Chief. Everyone was evacuated to the Carlisle Castle area and all were accounted for by Principal Patrice Hurley. Music teacher Kevin Maier then contacted parents to pick up their children and office personnel were sent home. There were no injuries, Flannery said.

Accident happened during construction project

J. D’Amico, the construction company digging trenches for electrical and gas service, had an excavator preparing a trench for the gas lines. Around 9:25 a.m., reported Flannery, “they were doing prep work for the installation of a new four-inch gas main when they hit the existing two-inch gas main.” Flannery said the existing pipe had been marked by Dig Safe. Flannery was immediately notified by the construction job supervisor and Flannery called 911. “While the fire department and National Grid were being notified by the dispatcher, I went to the main office fire alarm panel and put out an alert message over the emergency communications system.”

A close-up of the damaged gas line. (Photo by David Flannery)

The first National Grid representative arrived within 30 minutes, said Flannery, but was not prepared to stop the leak. “He did, however, check for gas levels in the buildings – high levels were detected in the Corey.” A construction crew sent by National Grid arrived 30 minutes later, said Flannery.

The main shut-off value is located on the street, said Flannery, but the National Grid crew decided to reach the gas lines by digging through the concrete on the plaza by the Corey Dining Room. He explained, “The National Grid supervisor told [Fire Department] Capt. Supple that they had no record of what that valve shut off and did not want to interrupt the service (to homes they did not know) where standing pilots were. This would mean they would have to visit every home and check for gas and pilot lights out.”

Flannery said, “After excavating some four feet and not locating the gas pipe they abandoned that effort and went to the leak location where they put a clamp in the end.”

Most of the gas flow was stopped and after attaching a second clamp the leak was sealed. “The gas company worked with the fire department to check for gas levels in the buildings and ventilate as needed,” said Flannery. “We were back in the buildings just after 2 p.m.” ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito