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Ruptured gas line repaired; affected Kingsport streets reopen

Kacie Breeding • Dec 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM

A gas line break Tuesday afternoon on Gibson Mill Road forced area residents indoors and temporarily disrupted traffic in the affected area.

Contractors relocating utility poles along Gibson Mill were digging a hole when they struck a gas line around noon, according to Kingsport Fire Department Chief Ron Nunley.

Atmos Energy spokesman Joel Ames said the damage was to a 1.25-inch service line at the HealthSouth Rehabilitation Center.

Gibson Mill remained closed from Cassell Drive to Broad Street along with a section of Robertson Street that intersects Gibson Mill until repairs could be made, according to Kingsport Police Department Lieutenant Jerry Robinson. The city put up signs indicating the road closures, and police assisted with traffic control.

Atmos workers made the repairs while fire crews stood by to monitor the situation, Nunley said.

The city's reverse 911 system was used to alert residents about the gas leak. Residents from Watauga to the east end of Gibson Mill Road, were affected. They were warned to stay inside, keep their windows and doors closed and to shut off their heating and cooling units as a precaution if they smelled gas, Nunley said.

According to Nunley, residents were not advised to evacuate because that might have exposed them unnecessarily to a hazardous environment. Because the leak was a small one, the safest option for those in the area was to just take the recommended precautions and stay put.

Firefighters used meters to test the air for gas at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Center and Wellmont's Holston Valley Medical Center, but there were no problems detected at either location, Nunley said.

HealthSouth CEO Terri Allsbrook and Wellmont media spokesman Brad Lifford advised no services were interrupted at their respective facilities as a result of the leak.

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