Gas main explodes in east Toledo, 1 hurt - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Gas main explodes in east Toledo, at least 1 hurt

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Toledo fire crews say a flash fire was caused by a natural gas leak in east Toledo Friday, where an explosion injured one person.

Columbia Gas spokesman Chris Kozak says a Columbia Gas crew was repairing a 4-inch line Friday morning in front of a home in the 800 block of Utah Street. The low pressure gas main was leaking and the crew was attempting to put a collar on the line to stop the leak. The gas leaking from the main ignited, burning one of the workers. 

"It's something our crew does everyday. So they're always putting their lives at risk - to a certain extent - everyday when they're working with natural gas. And they are experts at what they do, and they do it well. That's why this is a rare occurrence," said Kozak.

Kozak says the worker suffered first and second-degree burns to his face. He was taken by paramedics to a Toledo hospital with a burn unit. He is expected to recover, partially because of the safety procedures in place for Columbia Gas.

"This is an abnormality. Thankfully, the safety steps and procedures were being followed, which allowed us to get the fire put out, get the employee out of the hole, and keep this from being a truly serious incident," said Kozak.

Four houses were ordered to be evacuated shortly after the incident. 

The leak has been stopped and all residents are back in their homes. At no time was gas service interrupted in the neighborhood, according to Kozak. After the worker was taken away, crews began cleaning up and repairing the line that needed to be fixed in the first place.

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