Second gas leak found at Ninth Street construction

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | 6:33 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Ameren Missouri units were called for the second time in two days to respond to a gas leak at the construction site of an apartment-retail complex at 308 Ninth St.

Responders arrived around 1 p.m., Ameren Missouri spokesman Bryan Daniels said. Nearby businesses were evacuated as a precaution, but gas service was restored within an hour and a half. After an evaluation, business was permitted to resume.

"There was no immediate danger to the public or the campus community nearby," Daniels said. 

The gas leak occurred when construction crews hit a gas line at The Lofts at the 308 Ninth St. site while removing concrete in an alleyway behind Chipotle restaurant.

Nine businesses were temporarily without gas service while repairs were being made. Although the Upper Crust and Cold Stone Creamery chose to close early for the day, Varsity Clips receptionist Abbey Sowler said it would remain open.

The Columbia Fire Department and Ameren Missouri were called to the same site Tuesday afternoon after construction workers hit a 2-inch gas line. The incident closed off part of Ninth Street, and restaurants in the area were evacuated. The sound of gas rushing from the broken line was clearly audible.

Construction companies are required to notify gas companies through the Missouri One Call System prior to digging so that gas lines can be marked as a safety precaution. However, sometimes construction still interferes with the main gas lines and causes leaks.

"It happens from time to time, but I wouldn't say that it's common," Daniels said.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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