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Stories on Sebastiaan

Gasleak

25 January 2007

Cutout of our local newspaperI came home tonight unaware of the story that was about to unfold beneath our very eyes, in our very own street. Walking from the bus station I saw two people walking back and forth in our aprt of the street. Thinking this was very suspect and not immediately recognising two of our neighbours I slowly approached the two men, asking them what they were up to. They responded with the story that they had smelled gas when walking the dog and now were wlaking up and down the street to try and determine where the smell came from. It seemed that the smell didn't come from just one place, but emanated from the beginning and the end of our part of the street - our block so to say. The smell was so heavy that I almost became instantly sick from the sweet odour. It felt as if it streamed out of the main gas pipe, not slowly but at quite a pressure. Luckily the two men had called the fire department and they were present within five minutes of the call. After no more than ten minutes the street was cordoned off and everyone was asked to leave their houses until the gas company had closed off the main gaspipe. So we packed all the necessary and important stuff (just in case it all blew up) in a few backpacks, got our three little men together and suited them up for the cold winter evening and went to Marjolijns mother. She was away for the weekend so we had the house to ourselves. After having put the kids to bed - which wasn't easy considering the excitement of a street full of firemen and all of a sudden having to sleep in a strange bed in a strange room - I went back to our street to see how things were going. The firechief told me that the gasmain had been broken in two places by the treeroots sometime during the winterstorm a couple of days ago. Due to a flaw in the placement of the gasmain in relation to the trees, the roots had rocked the pipe heavily during the storm, so hard that it had ruptured. It had taken some days for the gas to penetrate the ground, but eventually it had found a way up and out. Now they were fixing the pipe after having shut off the gas at the beginning of the street. Eventually it took the team from the gas company the whole night to fix the two breaks - the next morning only two freshly covered holes in the ground testified of the ordeals of the night before.

Luckily everything is OK now - the trees above the gasmain are to be trimmed down during this year (you know local governments, everything takes time there...) and two trees will be cut down. Hopefully the mains will hold during the next storm. But as the pressure on the gaspipes isn't too big an explosion is luckily out of question - unless gas is stuck in a pocket under the ground somewhere and someone lights up a cigarette close by - very close by. To end with the words of a local fireman: "Anyone got a light?".

Posted by Sebastiaan Naafs - van Dijk | top

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    ... on 20 November 2017 @ 04:43