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Cause not determined in apparent gas line eruption Nov. 3

Monday, December 3, 2012 | 6:22 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Something was unusual about 200 Lincoln Drive on the morning of Nov. 3.

A 911 caller noted the front and rear doors and "portions of the wall" were open at the public housing apartment owned by the Columbia Housing Authority. Columbia police officers discovered charring on the front door when they arrived. The Columbia Fire Department was dispatched at 10:42 a.m. and arrived five minutes later, according to a news release that day from the Fire Department.

Fire crews evacuated all apartments in the structure and shut off gas to the building. Air-quality and natural gas readings from the Fire Department and AmerenUE officials came back negative. Natural gas service was restored to all other homes, except for the site of the apparent eruption.

Damage to the home is estimated at $50,000, Lt. Lisa Todd, assistant fire marshal said. A subsequent investigation did not find a definite cause, but the possible contributing factor of "total release" insect foggers could not be excluded, Fire Department Battalion Chief Brad Frazier said.

Evidence of a very small gas leak on the line supplying the kitchen stove also was discovered. There was no way to determine whether the age of the structure and its utility hookups played a part in the fire, Frazier said. He added: "It's certainly not a new property."

The 50-year-old townhouses on Lincoln and Unity drives are targeted for renovations, according to a previous Missourian article.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.


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