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Gas Leak Sends Fire Shooting Into Air In Brainerd Community

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A gas leak sent a plume of flames shooting into the air in front of a house in the Brainerd community Tuesday night.

The gas leak erupted in front of a bungalow at 8943 S. Marshfield Ave., according to the Fire Department.

A fire was seen raging at the site of the leak, with the flames climbing higher than the roofs of the houses behind it.

Deputy District Fire Chief Carmelita Wiley-Earls said at 7:31 p.m., fire companies were called out for a gas investigation, and found the 20- to 25-foot plume of fire burning in the parkway.

Construction crews had hit the gas line, CBS 2 has learned.

A Level 1 Hazardous Materials response was called, and a hazmat team responded to the scene and tested to ensure the atmosphere was safe, Wiley-Earls said.

The Fire Department evacuated only two people in the house directly behind the parkway where the fire was roaring, Wiley-Earls said. Other nearby neighbors were asked to shelter in place and not to go outside, and everyone cooperated, she said.

Fire crews also used their fog spray to keep the homes closest to the fire cool.

As to the flame column, Wiley-Earls said, "We allowed it to burn, because as long as gas o is burning, we know where it is."

By 8:40 p.m., Peoples Gas had shut down the gas leak and the flame was out. A large crater was left in the parkway between the sidewalk and the street where the flame had been shooting up, CBS 2's Tara Molina reported.

Peoples Gas had to come to the scene to turn off the gas main in the alley, she said. They will have to find the meter buried in the parkway that ruptured before turning the main back on.

A total of 60 homes had to have their gas turned off, the Fire Department said. Residents should expect their gas to remain off for a few hours as Peoples Gas repairs the line.

There were no injuries.

Meanwhile, Wiley-Earls noted that just at noon on Tuesday, Peoples Gas had held an inter-department training session with the Fire Department at their home office on 35th Place, and it just so happened that the subject was dealing with an open-flame gas line rupture.

"Shout out to Matt and Paul – great teachers," Wiley-Earls said. "I put it to work today."


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