Mineola's Bravest respond to Gas Leak (01/04/07)
On Thursday January 4, 2007 at 9:27 am. The Mineola Fire Department was alerted for an exterior natural gas leak at 130 Jericho Turnpike in Mineola. A contractor at the construction site had been digging with a backhoe and severed a high- pressure gas line causing the flammable gas to be released from the ground. First arriving units could hear the gas hissing as they approached the incident and began staging on the perimeter of the scene. Assistant Chief Robert Connolly arrived on scene and requested an immediate response from Keyspan and Mutual Aid from Williston Park FD, Mineola Ambulance and The Nassau County Police. The Chief also advised FIRECOM that Jericho Turnpike would be shutdown in both directions so ambulances responding to Winthrop would need to be redirected. Engine 161 under the direction of Ex-Chief Louis Santosus secured a water supply and put a hose line into operation to attempt to dissipate the gas into the air. Ex-Captain Thomas O'Brien put the crew of Engine 167 to work. They secured a second water source from a hydrant on the South side of Jericho Turnpike to protect the exposed buildings on the south side in the event the gas ignited. As the highly flammable product continued to leak from the site, the Command Post ordered the evacuation of the adjacent homes and businesses. The crew of Heavy Rescue 1610 lead by Second Lieutenant Michael Ciesla began evacuating the adjacent stores on Jericho Turnpike. They were assisted by the Williston Park Fire Department who responded into the scene with ladder truck 862 and two Chiefs. Chief Connolly assigned Williston Park FD Chief James Smith as the East sector command. Engine 166 was also sent to the East sector where Captain Lenny Schmidt worked with Chief Smith to insure that adequate water was in place should an explosion or fire occur. Chief Smith monitored the engine companies operations at the scene and also relayed information from Keyspan back to the command post. Williston Park FD Assistant Chief William Shannon was assigned the North Sector command where he coordinated the evacuation of several homes on Arlington Street. The Mineola Ambulance Corps, under the direction of Assistant Chief Brendan Healy, also responded into the scene to assist with the evacuation of an invalid. Nassau County Police Department provided two additional ambulances along with several patrol cars to assist in diverting traffic. At 1015 A.M. Keyspan workers were able to isolate the break and shut down the gas. A Keyspan representative advised that they will be investigating the procedures followed by the contractor to seek authorization for the excavation A similar incident occurred in New Hyde Park in 2005. In that incident the gas ignited destroying several businesses on Jericho Turnpike. Contractors are required to request a mark out of the gas service prior to doing any digging to prevent this type of incident. The Mineola Fire Department cleared the scene at 10:48 a.m.