08/07/13 — Demolition crew hits gas line at former Arts Council

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Demolition crew hits gas line at former Arts Council

By John Joyce
Published in News on August 7, 2013 1:46 PM

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Goldsboro firefighters block traffic on Ash Street on Tuesday afternoon after a crew demolishing the former Arts Council building at the intersection of Ash and Spence Avenue cut a gas line, forcing authorities to evacuate the area for several blocks until the leak could be capped.

Demolition of the old Arts Council building on the corner of Ash Street and Spence Avenue hit a snag at about 5 p.m. Tuesday when workers punctured a gas line, forcing a mass evacuation of the immediate area.

Goldsboro Fire Department, police and emergency services said they were taking no chances as they cordoned off the area around 2406 E. Ash St.

Ash Street was shut down from Stoney Creek Park up to North Berkeley Boulevard. Spence Avenue was closed at Hillcrest Street.

Traffic was rerouted for more than an hour before a crew from Natural Gas was able to locate and stop the leak coming from inside the shell of the building once slated to be the city's new Air Force museum.

The leak was audible as far away as the BB&T bank on North Spence Avenue.

A high-pitched whistling emanated from the rubble around the site.

And the odor of natural gas could be smelled blocks away.

"(The construction crew) thought they had accounted for all the lines and marked the no cuts," Acting Assistant Fire Chief Eric Lancaster said.

Lancaster served as fire commander at the scene and coordinated efforts with Goldsboro police to keep the area clear.

The line they didn't mark was just inside the building.

"They struck a pipe, three-quarters inches in size," he said.

The natural gas odor was strong, and shifting winds were a constant concern.

Lancaster revealed an iPad application emergency responders used to monitor, up to the minute, the existing conditions and explained how he and the Office of Emergency Services used that information to determine just how far the evacuation zone needed to be.

At 6:20 the whistling stopped.

The leak was slowed and firefighters and Natural Gas workers were able to get in and secure the line.

The leak was stopped and the all clear given at 6:31 p.m.

The roads reopened almost immediately.

A K Grading and Demolition is the company responsible for tearing down the building.