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Bangor gas leak causes road closures

Bangor Fire Captain John Prentiss heads back to the firetruck as workers walk to their equipment after a gas leak was reported near a construction project on the Mount Hope Avenue near Maple Street in Bangor Thursday, July 1, 2010. (Bangor Daily News/Gabor Degre)
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Work crews installing a new water main along Mount Hope Avenue hit a gas line Thursday morning, forcing the roadway and others nearby to be closed and nearby homes to be evacuated.

“We’re installing an 8-inch water main going down Mount Hope and we hit a 2-inch natural gas pipeline,” Kathy Moriarty, Bangor Water District general manager, said Thursday afternoon.

The gas line break occurred near the intersection of Mount Hope and Maple Street just before 11 a.m., and by noon “the leak [had] been contained,” a Bangor Police Department dispatcher said.

Bangor Fire Department crews set up water lines in case the leaking gas ignited, and monitored air quality in the area, Lt. Chuck Rodway said.

“It was kind of a dangerous situation,” he said. “We isolated the area to make sure we didn’t get an ignition [source] and we evacuated probably the first three homes” on Maple Street.

Luckily, “the wind was blowing,” Rodway said. “It was blowing it right straight up into the air.”

When firefighters set up a precautionary perimeter, several nearby roads were closed off to traffic.

Bangor Gas Co. crews arrived quickly and were able to shut down the leaking line shortly afterward, Rodway said.

“I was pretty impressed with what they were doing,” he said.

Moriarty, who went to the scene, also was impressed with Bangor Gas crews.

“They did a good job,” she said.

The Bangor Water District is installing 1,200 feet of new water main along Mount Hope Avenue between Birch Street to Forest Avenue.

Aside from Thursday’s incident, the project is “going really well,” Moriarty said. “We should have it competed fairly soon. We should be finished up in the next couple of weeks.”

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