A large gas leak in downtown Warsaw Monday inconvenienced some motorists and temporarily shut down one business, but Warsaw Fire Chief Mike Brubaker today tells StaceyPageOnline.com that further evacuations were not necessary.
The gas leak was found at about 11:30 a.m. on Main Street near Lake Street. Main Street was closed from Lake to Buffalo while fire crews worked to pinpoint the exact location of the leak.
Brubaker noted that the natural gas concentration in a test hole at the corner of Main and Lake measured between 80 percent and 100 percent. Such a high concentration could be catastrophic if ignited, but Brubaker says, “There was no potential hazard at that time, except for at that very spot.”
The fire chief explains that the gas leaking from the test hole was rapidly dissipating due to moderate winds. “Literally, the ignition source would have to be right at the source, which was on the ground,” he tells. Further, he says natural gas has two explosive limits. “It would take a long time to explain it, but (the short of it) is that the lower explosive limit was too lean to ignite.”
NIPSCO officials were called in to repair the leak, which was delayed while fiber optic lines were first located. On Monday, Brubaker explained the severing of a fiber optic line would have a price tag of over $1 million to repair.
The gas was found to be leaking into a storm system along Buffalo, Main and Center streets which resulted in the closure of Lake Street from Fort Wayne to Center streets, and Main Street from Buffalo to Columbia streets.
The offices of Bodkin Abstract were evacuated in the early afternoon when gas levels inside the building began to build.
Today, NIPSCO was back in town today siphoning natural gas that leaked into the storm sewers.