Randolph, MA- A broken gas pipe forced an estimated 50 to 75 residents to evacuate their homes for more than an hour this afternoon.
The fire department responded to a report around 12:30 p.m. that a pipe carrying natural gas into a home at 4 Lou Circle had become broken.
“It was spewing natural gas at a pretty high pressure release,” said Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Kreckler. “Any spark could have set off an explosion.”
All residents from Lou Circle and nearby Phyllis Drive were evacuated. They were allowed to return to their homes at 2 p.m. when the flow of gas was
stopped, Kreckler said.
A spate of gas explosions in Massachusetts have killed two people and seriously injured another over the past three months.
In Randolph, about 15 to 20 homes on the two streets were evacuated within 15 minutes of the call, Kreckler said.
The residents waited in their cars at the former Tower Hill School until the flow of gas was stopped, Kreckler said.
The cause of the broken pipe wasn’t clear, though Kreckler said it may have been knocked from the gas meter by a dog. There was no evidence the pipe had become corroded, he said. The homeowner called the fire department when he heard a high whistling sound and determined the pipe had broken, Kreckler said.
It took longer than expected to stop the gas because Bay State Gas was unable to locate a shutdown valve, which had been paved over, Kreckler said. The company ultimately used tools to squeeze the gas pipe shut.
Kreckler said windy conditions reduced the danger of explosion by blowing the gas away quickly. Electricity to the streets was shut off until 2 p.m. to reduce the chances of causing a spark.
Bay State Gas continued to work this afternoon to restore gas service to the homes.
Two of the recent gas explosions were in southeastern Massachusetts: In Somerset, a 62-year-old woman was killed on Feb. 19 when an apparent natural gas leak caused an explosion that leveled her home and damaged dozens of other houses. In Scituate, a house explosion apparently caused by natural gas killed 45-year-old David Kupris in December.