Snowstorm plus gas leak equals commuter detours
DELAVAN A gas leak in the middle of a snowstorm is bad.
A gas leak in the middle of a snowstorm that closes a main thoroughfare during the morning commute is even worse.
At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, a Delavan city employee using an end loader to clear snow from an alley struck gas meter, severing a 2.5-inch gas pipe, Delavan Police Chief Tim O’Neill said.
The alley is in the 200 block of West Walworth Avenue/Highway 11, a heavily used commuter route.
The alley is also about six blocks from the elementary-, middle- and high-school complex.
“Officers could hear the sound of the main leaking, as well as smell the odor of the gas a block west of the incident,” O’Neill said.
The fire department evacuated the block and traffic was rerouted around the incident for about two hours.
High concentrations of gas were found on the bottom floor of the empty building that used to house the Delavan House Hotel.
Three other buildings had moderate levels of gas. All of the buildings were ventilated by the fire department.
WE Energies was on the scene within the hour, and the gas was shut off, O’Neill said. Service was restored to most buildings on the block in about an hour.
O’Neill said he didn’t expect any police action to be taken against the driver of the end loader. The accident information has been turned over to the city’s insurance company, he said.