UPDATED: Forest Hill Avenue gas leak repairs underway

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A major natural gas leak is affecting the operations of a fire station on Forest Hill Avenue just west of Chippenham Parkway.
The leak happened around 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. For about two hours, the road was shut down in both directions. It is back open now, but you may experience some lane closures as crews work to repair the major leak.
All the commotion on Forest Hill Avenue early this morning, left some with curious minds.

"I was hoping they got Bin Laden or something but that didn't happen. It's just gas," says Lisa Jenkins. She was right about the gas leak. It was a major gas leak that started underground right on front of Fire Station 24.

Lisa was on her way to dropping her kids off at Thompson Middle and Huguenot High when the gas leak diverted her route.

"We had to go back on the highway. Go around. Then get back on the highway and go around so that was the most incontinence," says Jenkins.  

Firefighters actually smelled the leak on the way back from a call this morning. They told the city and public utilities quickly found the leak.

"With traffic going up and down on Forest Hill Avenue, pedestrians walking, smoking cigarettes, dropping cigarettes on the street, it could have been a major catastrophe," says Richmond Fire Capt. AD Holmes.

Thankfully that didn't happen. But the weather is to blame for the leak. The gas pipe is old and with the cold temperatures, the pipe froze. Then with a slight warm up yesterday, it caused the ground to move and ultimately break the pipe.

So now, the fire station is scrambling, trying to find a place to work while their driveway is under major repairs.

"We're working to get a plan in place to have the same response times and relocate these gentleman and make sure the citizens will still be safe," says Capt. Holmes. 

That, and they hope eventually get things back to normal again, as quickly as possible.

(c) 2010. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.