Saturday, May 10, 2003

Gas leak closes road by Lebanon

School, homes and businesses are evacuated

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CLEARCREEK TWP. - A propane gas leak Friday closed a state highway north of Lebanon and a school, led to the temporary evacuation of dozens of homes but left no one injured.

Gas leaking from an 8-inch pipeline at the Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., at 1157 Ohio 122 near Springboro Road, occurred at about 11 a.m., pouring a white cloud of vapor across the Warren County highway.

Warren County emergency crews, including the county's Hazardous Materials Team, rushed to the scene near the town of Red Lion.

East of the gas leak, off Ohio 48, students and staff from the Warren County Career Center were told to go home.

Later in the day nearly 60 homes and a handful of businesses near the leak were evacuated and then inspected for any signs of high levels of propane.

"It's very scary," said Kathy Eblin, among the parents who drove to the career center to take their children away from the area.

Kathy Sauve, spokeswoman for the gas company, said workers quickly shut off a 7.5-mile section of pipe in an effort to allow the remaining gas to leech out.

She said none of the nearly dozen workers at the gas terminal facility was injured.

Don Sebastinelli, deputy director of emergency services for Warren County, said: "Fortunately it's a rural area out there" with relatively few homes.

By mid-afternoon company officials and emergency crews decided the quickest way to purge the closed-off pipeline of propane was to ignite it and burn off the gas.

The pipeline runs propane gas from Texas through Ohio to New England.

Dan Klepal contributed to this report.


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