Gas leak prompts shutdown of downtown store buildingsPublished 6:25pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Six store buildings in Hartselle’s Central Business District were evacuated at about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday afternoon while workers repaired a leak in a natural gas line at the base of a meter in the alley behind Hartselle Antique Mall.
Escaping gas fumes, which created a foul odor, were easily detectible in the downtown area and created the danger of a fire, according to a Hartselle fire fighter on the scene.
Hartselle Utilities Gas Department Superintendent Tony Vest said he suspected the gas meter was struck by a vehicle, causing the line to break at the meter’s base.
Hartselle firefighters stood by in the alley with a fire hose while the line was being uncovered and closed off.
“We take special precautions to keep odor in the lines so that a gas leak can be easily detected,” said Vest. “We use a metering device that is sensitive to the odor and check out lines at different locations around town on a regular basis to keep the public safe.”
“Gas leaks are something that gets our attention in a hurry,” said a firefighter who was working the incident. “With as much static electricity that is in the air, a fire could break out at anytime.
Hartselle police officers secured the area with patrol cars stationed on Sparkman and Main streets.