GOSHEN — A natural gas leak in the 200 block of West Washington Street caused evacuations and road closures Tuesday, Nov. 26.
Residents and businesses in a one-block radius of the area were evacuated, but it was not immediately clear how many homes or businesses were cleared out.
The Goshen Fire Department, Goshen Police Department and the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) responded to the scene.
A news release from the Goshen Police Department asks residents and drivers to “please stay clear of the area and to respect emergency services requests as this leak is repaired. The time it will take for the repair is unknown at this time.”
As a result of the leak, Washington Street was closed between Second and Third streets, and Second and Third streets were both shut down between Washington Street and Lincoln Avenue.
Danny Sink, Goshen fire chief, said the leak started because of a directional bore in the alley. He believes the boring was for a fiber optic project the city is currently undergoing.
Sink said NIPSCO would be working through the night to try to get the leak fixed but said he did not know how long it was going to take.
“The explosive limits are such that they aren't letting their staff in for a while,” Sink said of the NIPSCO workers. He said power in the area would remain off to avoid any kind of a spark. He could not say how long it might be off.
“It's hard to say,” Sink said. “I think it's going to be a long night.”
Sink said NIPSCO initially considered the leak a “code red,” which means they require a 1,000-foot radius around the area to be blocked off.
Sink said that as the explosive limits are deemed less dangerous, the radius may shrink, allowing some streets to be reopened, but said that decision depended on NIPSCO's evaluations.
Repairing the broken line requires specialized welding, Sink said. “I don't know how long this fix is going to take on this line.”
Interra Credit Union at 300 W. Lincoln Ave. was evacuated just before 2 p.m., said Karen Steffensen, the director of marketing for the credit union.
Sink said that as of Tuesday night, Interra did have power again.
Unlike some of the other businesses in the area, Sink said Interra has been cleared by a NIPSCO technician, which means the credit union should be open for business Wednesday.