Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Work Crew Ruptures Pipeline in Brunswick about 500 Evacuated, but Nobody Injured

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Work Crew Ruptures Pipeline in Brunswick about 500 Evacuated, but Nobody Injured

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski, Times-Union staff writer

BRUNSWICK -- An estimated 500 people, including children at a day-care center and the Glynn Academy football team, were forced to temporarily evacuate yesterday after a utility company work crew accidentally ruptured a natural gas pipeline near the downtown business district.

No injuries were reported. Nor did any fires or explosions occur as a result of the rupture that sent a gray-white plume into the air shortly before 10 a.m. in the 1100 block of Albany Street between Mansfield and George streets.

Brunswick police and firefighters went door-to-door evacuating people from homes, businesses, churches and schools within a five-block area around the leak, located about two blocks from the business district.

Residents were allowed to return about an hour later after repair crews replaced the ruptured section of the pipeline.

Sgt. David O'Neal, a Brunswick Police Department spokesman, said a Georgia Power company crew was digging a hole with an auger in preparation for raising a new utility pole when they struck a 4-inch natural gas line owned by Atlanta Gas Light Co.

Mike Tyndall, a Georgia Power spokesman, said the company had all of the necessary state permits and followed proper procedures, including checking a pipeline map before beginning to dig. As a further precaution, crews also hand-dug a hole at the site to make sure there were no underground pipelines or cables, Tyndall said.

"We accidentally hit the pipeline because we didn't know it was there. It was not properly marked on the map," Tyndall said.

The evacuees included about 300 students, coaches and school staff from Glynn Academy. Also evacuated were about 120 children from First Baptist Church Child Development Center, 20 youngsters from the YWCA Child Care Center, plus another 60 -- both children and adults -- from Glynn Middle School and St. Francis Xavier Catholic School, authorities said.

The day-care center children -- ranging from 6 weeks to 12 years old -- were transported via church vans and school bus to Brunswick Fire Station No. 3 on Fourth Street about four miles away. …

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