WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A gas leak near Wichita’s Old Town Wednesday took several hours and a lot of effort to get under control.
The Wichita Fire Department says the report of a gas leak at Douglas and Ida came in a little before 1:30 p.m. When the first firefighters arrived, they found gas leaking from under the pavement in an alley east of Ida.
The WFD says a utility company using a boring machine had hit a six-inch, high-volume gas line. Because it was an active leak in a high-population area, the WFD upgraded its response, bringing in a chief officer, an additional engine company, a truck company and special operations rescue company.
The rescue company started monitoring the air and got initial readings “well above the flammable explosive range.”
Officials say the gas was trapped by the concrete and pavement and traveled through the storm sewer drain in the alley. They called in another rescue company to help monitor the air, and firefighters started evacuating businesses in the area.
Kansas Gas and fire officials worked together to figure out how to handle the situation. Evergy was called in to keep electricity from sparking a fire. And Wichita Public Works provided maps of storm drain locations so they could monitor the spread of the gas.
It took a couple of hours for Kansas Gas repair crews to secure the gas line and gas flow. After it was stopped, WFD and Kansas Gas tested air samples throughout all the buildings in the evacuated area before letting residents and workers return.
The WFD says there were no injuries.