Contact: Contact: Battalion Chief James L. Weaver
573-441-6608 - Columbia Fire Department Media Line
573-874-7503 Office (M-F, 8-5)
For Immediate Release:
Gas Leak Causes Evacuation of Downtown Businesses
Columbia Fire Fighters were called at 4:59 pm on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, to 308 9th Street S, The Lofts, for a reported gas odor outside. While en-route PSJC informed crews that patrons in Starbucks were reporting a gas odor inside the business.
Upon their arrival, at 5:04 crews found that a natural gas line had been struck by construction crews behind Chipolte. The construction crews were working on the new apartments "The Lofts" that are located at 308 S 9th. While investigating crews, assisted by CPD and MUPD were closing down 9th street and routing pedestrian traffic to the west side of 9th street. Crews also evacuated the customers and employees from Chipolte, and the businesses along Watson Place. It was initially reported that several individuals who were inside Starbucks weren't feeling well but the medics on scene reported that all treatment was refused and they did not transport anyone to local hospitals.
Crews from Ameren UE arrived on the scene a reported that it was a two inch line that had been damaged and that shutting it down would require shutting down three different valves. The gas from the damaged line flowed until 6:20, when it was shut down. Crews then checked for natural gas readings in the business near the release and after finding none they opened the roadway and the businesses to normal traffic.
There were no injuries reported as a result of the release and no damage estimate was released.