Thursday at approximately 12:04pm North Lincoln Fire & Rescue was dispatched
to ” NE 47th and Tide [where a] construction crew struck a gas line main of unknown size”, and reports of a strong smell of gas at a new house being built at 4660 NE Tide Avenue, in the north end of Lincoln City.
Division Chief Rob Dahlman arrived on scene to a strong odor of gas, and
the sound of a large volume of gas under pressure. Dahlman established Incident Command (IC) and immediately ordered incoming engine crews to evacuate the residents in surrounding homes.
North Lincoln Fire crews in SCBA’s and full protective fire gear began clearing the area, as a two block perimeter was established with the assistant of Lincoln City Police, and denying further access to the scene. The smell of the odorized gas “the smell of rotten eggs” could be detected blocks away, concerning neighbors, as more fire and utility units arrived.
NW Natural Gas had already been alerted and was deploying service personnel
and excavation equipment to the scene. Pacific Power was notified and
arriving on scene began to shut down power to homes in the immediate area to
avoid any ignition source, as fire crews deployed fire lines at both end of
the block as a precautionary measure.
Incident Command requested Lincoln County Transit to provide a bus to house
the evacuees and Pacific West Ambulance be dispatched to the scene
requesting oxygen for individuals evacuated. A Joint Command Post was
established with North Lincoln Fire and Rescue and North West (NW) Natural
Gas, as trucks and heavy equipment began to arrive. NW Natural Gas and
Lincoln City Public Works quickly located areas to dig to isolate the leak
North Lincoln Fire & Rescue’s crews patrolled the area trying to account for
all the residents and set-up a Medical Command and a Public Information area
at NE 47 and Voyage Avenue and upwind of the scene.
Mutual Aid was requested from Depoe Bay Fire District south of Lincoln who
sent an engine to assist at the scene, and Nestucca Rural Fire north to
“stand-by” to cover calls for the duration of the incident.
After digging two holes through concrete and asphalt at each end of the 4600
block of NE tide, NW Natural Gas pitched off the gas line leak at 1:34pm and
residents began to return to their homes approximately 20-30 minutes later.
Fire Chief Doug Kerr stated; “The operation went off very smoothly and
coordinated” Kerr went on to say, “he wanted to thank everyone, dispatchers,
Lincoln City Police and Public works, Pacific Power, Lincoln County Transit,
Pacific West Ambulance, our mutual aid partners Depoe Bay and Nestucca Fire,
and especially NW Natural Gas for the rapid deployment of equipment and
crews to the scene.”
Remember to “call before you dig?”
The most common cause of a natural gas pipeline rupture is someone digging
into the pipe, whether it be a contractor or a homeowner digging in the
backyard. If you plan to dig, call your local gas company provider or visit
nwnatural.com for safety information.