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Another gas leak

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  • Another gas leak

    Gas leak clears out Route 10 in Denville

    DENVILLE -- Residents, store employees and customers in the Powder Mill area were evacuated after a malfunctioning valve caused a natural gas leak.

    The valve, which opens to release natural gas and extra pressure on the system, did not close, said Roseanne Koberle, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Natural Gas Co. The valve is located at a regulator station on Route 10.

    "One of its regular operations is to vent," Koberle said. "It opened but it didn't close."

    The gas escaped for more than two hours until members of the gas company shut off gas to the station at 1:18 p.m.

    The station, located behind At Home Furnishings on Route 10 West, west of Powder Mill Road, changes the pressure of gas coming from another regulator station in Hanover, which receives its gas from the Texas Eastern interstate pipeline, Koberle said.

    About 400 to 500 residents and people in stores in the North and South Powder Mill areas were evacuated and transported by bus first to an office building at 301 Gibralter Drive and then to Parsippany Hills High School. Police also closed Route 10 both ways from the intersections of Franklin Road in Randolph to Route 202 in Morris Plains.

    The evacuees were allowed back to their homes, stores and cars shortly after the gas was shut off from the station and Route 10 was re-opened.

    The gas flowed through a six-inch main and the valve at 150 pounds per square inch, said Daniel Dungan, chief of Mount Tabor Fire District 1, which arrived first to the scene.

    Dungan said the gas was "very flammable," but did not catch on fire. Breathing the gas was unhealthy, but not deadly, he said. No one was injured in the incident.

    "It's very light, so it dissipates very fast," Dungan said. "Luckily we had a windy day, so it went up into the atmosphere."

    "It's a repeated problem," Allan Verbesky, co-owner of At Home Funishings, said. "It happens 2 to 3 times per year, because our customers come in saying they smell gas."

    However, Verbesky said, "We've never had anything quite like this."

    At Home Furnishings did not open as scheduled at 11 a.m. Sunday because of the incident. Verbesky said the escaping gas "sounded like Niagara Falls."

    Gas was re-routed through the system and no customers lost gas, Koberle said. The company has about 8 to 10 regulator stations in Morris County.

    The gas leak caused an obvious disruption to businesses in the Powder Mill Shopping Plazas.

    Jonathan Nelson, owner of Jonathan's Kosher Deli Restaurant in the Powder Mill West shopping plaza, said he and his staff had to abandon their orders for the Jewish holiday of sukkot.

    "Today's a Jewish holiday and we got killed," Nelson said. "We lost thousands and thousands of dollars in business."

    "We all lost business," said Bruce Sanderson, store manager of Pelican, a pool and ski shop in the plaza, which neighbors At Home Furnishings.

    Sanderson called the gas leak into police after he and other employees heard a loud noise.

    "We heard this swooshing noise like an airplane engine when it's going to take off," he said.

    Koberle also said the gas did not catch fire, but store owners had differing accounts of the incident.

    Two Pelican employees, Chris Kennette, a manager, and Chris O'Dell, crossed a grass border into the rear of At Home's property to investigate and said they saw blue flames shooting out of one of two pipes at the regulator station "like a blowtorch."

    Verbesky and another employee of the furniture store, however, said there were no flames.
    I.A.C.O.J. Firefighter/EMT-B

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  • #2
    WOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW... Now that was a bit of luck for all parties concerned. It's never good news to know that another "spill" has taken place, but no one got hurt and that is about all that could be asked for. Interesting difference of accounts, relating to the "blue flames like a blow torch" report, but without pictures, who knows right.

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