Fire Department, PNG bottle up Indian Trail gas leak

Rush hour traffic snarled for miles when six-inch main ruptures
Nov. 21, 2012 @ 06:53 PM

A large natural gas line ruptured underground and spewed gas for hours as repair crews worked to safely locate and contain a potential disaster Tuesday afternoon. The ruptured six-inch gas line was reported shortly after 5, sending firefighters, Union County deputies and Highway Patrol officers scrambling to the intersection of Old Charlotte Highway and Waxhaw-Indian Trail Road and surrounding vicinity. No injuries were reported but Union EMS paramedics remained on the site while Piedmont Natural Gas crews carefully dug with a backhoe to locate the pipe and create access to initially stop the spewing gas and later complete a permanent repair.

Traffic was diverted away from the area in all directions while C-Com, the county's Department of Emergency Communications fielded an overload of 911 calls from nearby residents that recognized the tell-tale odor of the gas. C-Com later initiated a reverse 911 system phone message to residents in the affected area in an effort to slow the incoming calls and keep phone lines  and telecommunicators available for other emergencies.

According to radio transmissions from the scene, the leak was deemed under control at 9:24 p.m., a little more than four hours from the initial dispatch. Barricades were down and traffic back to normal around 10:00, however Piedmont Natural Gas repair crews remained on the scene well into the morning hours.