MOUNT VERNON — Columbia Gas stands behind its response to Saturday’s gas leak in the Parrott and Delano streets area.
According to Bill Loomer, manager of Communications and Community Relations, it is standard operating procedure for the utility company to send one representative to work with first responders on the scene to assess the situation.
“By doing this, we can better protect our customers and address any immediate needs and relay any additional information needed to the responding crew,” Loomer told the News in an email Monday afternoon.
City officials said after 36 minutes with no response from Columbia Gas, it took a second call and an additional 30 minutes for the first Columbia Gas representative to arrive on scene followed by a crew and equipment.
“In this situation, we had a safe work area set up in coordination with emergency officials protecting all that were involved, including the public, while waiting for additional emergency responders to arrive. Extra time was needed to gather up other material that was required for the emergency repairs so they could work more effectively and efficiently once they arrived on scene,” Loomer said.
The gas line was breached after the line was struck by an old water line being removed from South Main Street, between Parrott and Delano. City Engineer Brian Ball explained the problem resulted because Columbia Gas did not place new lines as they were instructed and the utility company has yet to provide the city with “as-built” designs.
Loomer, however, said the city would be responsible for locating all lines before digging.
“It is the responsibility (Ohio law) of the digging party to contact 811 prior to digging to get the facilities marked accurately,” Loomis said.
Residents from about 25 homes on Parrott and Delano were evacuated Saturday around 12:30 p.m. The majority of those were permitted to return home at 7 p.m., with the exception of 1-9 Delano Street, which was cleared at 10 p.m.
If a natural gas leak is suspected, or there is a smell of rotten eggs, Loomer suggests those in the area should leave, call 911 and Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077.