UPDATE: Gas line break forces University Hospital to temporarily close operating rooms

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | 2:40 p.m. CDT; updated 12:09 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Construction crews cut a 2-inch natural gas line with a backhoe while working on a steam tunnel at the corner of Monk Drive and Hospital Drive at 8:17 Wednesday morning.

There were no injuries, and no evacuations were required, said Captain Eric Hartman of the Columbia Fire Department.

University Hospital’s operating rooms were temporarily closed in a “procedural shutdown” following the leak, Hartman said. That was because some people inside the building reported smelling gas. Fire crews did not detect gas inside the building, and the operating rooms were soon re-opened.

The leak was contained by 10:26 a.m., though Hartman said gas crews on the scene did have “a bit of difficulty finding the other end of the line to cap off.”

Because of the location of the leak, AmerenUE crews had to dig up part of the road to get to the line and stop the leak.

Two Fire Department vehicles and seven crew members responded to the break.

Missourian reporter Daniel Shar contributed to this report.

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