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Crews clean up after natural gas leak in Salt Lake City

(Firefighters in position to help in case gas leak leads to a fire. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – A construction accident on Salt Lake City’s west side causes a big stinky mess.  Investigators say workers hit an industrial gas line, and it took a few hours for the gas to stop leaking out.

Officials say construction workers by an industrial park on 1500 South near 2300 West dug into the wrong spot.

Salt Lake Fire Captain Adam Archuleta says, “They made contact with a two-inch natural gas line.  It was under quite a bit of pressure.”

The accident happened just before two p.m., and two hours later, gas was still coming out of that pipeline.  Safety officials say there were some serious concerns when it first happened since possible ignition sources were very close.  One spark could have caused a big explosion.

“Because [crews] are working outdoors and a lot of the power was cut off, they had some generators that were immediately adjacent to the work area.  That was our primary concern,” he says.

Once those were turned off, crews had to check several businesses and warehouses surrounding the construction site.

Archuleta says, “The gas was not getting into any of those buildings.  Therefore, there was no need for evacuation.”

Getting natural gas to stop leaking from a punctured line can take a lot longer than many people would expect, according to Archuleta.  He says Dominion Energy had to cut off the gas from a distant, remote location.

“Once the gas bleeds out of that particular line, at that point, they can repair the line and put it back in service,” he adds.