GOSHEN — A gas leak in downtown Goshen that kept at least one road closed and caused two evacuations in four days has been repaired.
Residents went back to their homes Friday night, Nov. 29, and businesses resumed their activities without further incidents Saturday, Nov. 30, after buildings in the 200 block of West Washington Street were evacuated because of high gas readings.
Angie Nelson, a public affairs manager with NIPSCO, said crews cleared the scene Saturday around 4:30 p.m.
The area on West Washington Street was evacuated Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 26, after a contractor working on site hit a 2-inch main.
The Goshen Fire and Police Department responded to the gas leak and helped evacuate the area.
Interra Credit Union at 300 W. Lincoln Ave. and Autozone at 212 W. Lincoln Ave. were evacuated. NIPSCO cut power to several businesses and houses within the affected area.
Washington Street was closed between Second and Third streets, and Second and Third streets were shut down between Washington Street and Lincoln Avenue.
Residents were able to go back to their homes Tuesday night.
NIPSCO stayed on the scene working on repairing the leak, mainly removing some of the gas from the leak that was trapped underneath West Washington Street.
But on Friday, reports of a gas leak came through again. Buildings in the 200 block of West Washington Street were evacuated and residents were asked to stay away for several hours.
Nelson said crews were working to remove the gas trapped underneath the street when they found higher gas levels than expected.
NIPSCO cut power to several businesses, including Interra Credit Union, again.
Goshen Fire Department Assistant Chief Jim Ramer said emergency crews cleared the scene at about 6:22 p.m. Friday.
“Anytime you have a structure full of gas it’s basically a bomb ready to go off,” he said. “So NIPSCO declared their code red emergency and we evacuated about a block and a half around the site.”
Although businesses were able to open Saturday morning, West Washington Street remained closed, so customers had to park a distance away from the Farmers Market.
The people living in the affected block of West Washington Street were told to leave their home for a while when gas levels were at a dangerous level, and their power was cut off for a few hours as well.
Gaile Janssen, a man renting an apartment above the Goshen Farmers Market, said he was not told about the ongoing evacuation Tuesday afternoon, though he is not upset about how emergency crews handled the incident.
“I was in the apartment, I went downstairs to get my mail when a gentleman approached and said ‘uh, you can’t be here,’ and I go ‘uh, yes I can,” Janssen said. “(The gentleman) said there was a gas leak and that I had to leave now.”
Janssen was not dressed to be outside for very long, so he was escorted up to his apartment by a NIPSCO crew member to grab a coat and his wallet. Later in the evening he got a call saying the scene was clear and that he could go back home.
“They were very kind and very helpful, and they gave me the answers that they could give me,” he said.
On Friday, Janssen was out when the Farmers Market building was evacuated, but a few different people called him to let him know, and later they called him again to tell him the scene was cleared.
“Everybody was great, they were very kind. They realized we were being inconvenienced,” Janssen said. “I’m very grateful with how they handled it.”