Gas Line Leak on Comm. Ave. Leads to Evacuations
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 00:10
A gas leak at 1867 Commonwealth Ave. shut down the Washington St. stop of the MBTA Green Line on Monday. Caused by a backhoe hitting the property’s gas line at around 12:30 p.m., the Boston Fire Department and National Grid responded, evacuating several apartments.
“We had a contracted water and plumbing company attempting to dig in the front yard to do some work,” said Barbara Deck, who is the owner of 1867 Commonwealth Ave., a house that was built in 1908. While digging, the backhoe attempted to excavate the roots of a tree that had been formerly removed, but the roots were wrapped around the gas pipe. When the backhoe tried to lift them, it disrupted the gas pipe and resulted in a “geyser of fluid” shooting from the pipe, and the creation of the gas leak. No one was injured in the incident. “We received orders to evacuate, which we did,” Deck said.
When the Washington St. stop was closed along the Green Line, MBTA shuttles were sent to navigate people around the closed stop.
“As a precautionary measure before the National Grid arrived … the T was shut down in both directions for approximately an hour,” said a district chief of the Boston Fire Department. “We didn’t know the extent of the leak.”
“We took readings inside all these buildings,” he said of 1867 Commonwealth Ave. and the surrounding buildings. “Outside in the street we weren’t getting any readings for explosive gas. It was confined primarily. The buildings were evacuated initially because all that gas somehow could have went in that way and people would have been exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning.”
While the fire department and the National Grid tried to fix the gas leak, the district chief said that surrounding residents were allowed to return to their homes. Deck, however, was told to wait some time until the responders cleared away from the front of her property.
Deck, who has owned the property since 1975, said that the response to the gas leak was “prompt, wonderful, and professional.”
Editor’s Note: Heights Editor Graham Beck contributed to this report.