Dolgeville, NY – Reports of gas leaks inundate Dolgeville Fire Department

By LORRAINE HEATH Evening Times Staff Writer

DOLGEVILLE — Beginning at around 6 p.m. Wednesday night, the Dolgeville Fire Department got the first of a series of calls reporting the strong odor of gas. For several hours, about every ten minutes or so, a call would come into the 911 Communications Center in Herkimer.

The fire department spent the better part of three hours checking each call — house by house. Finally, after a few calls to the 911 center by the Dolgeville Fire Department requesting more help from Niagara Mohawk, a fleet of NiMo workers began to arrive to help with the situation.

According to NiMo workers, either by mechanical means or by human error, too much of the chemical that allows natural gas to have an odor was added into the system.

That meant the tiniest of leaks could be detected.

Dolgeville was not the only area in the past two days that had the gas-leak-call-explosion. It began in Herkimer on Tuesday evening, then Mohawk and Little Falls, through Dolgeville Wednesday night and eventually, workers suspected the problem would occur at the end of the line — Salisbury Center.

“Once it gets to Salisbury, to be more precise, at Pinecrest, that should be it for the calls,” one Niagara Mohawk employee said Wednesday night.

Dolgeville Fire Chief Richard Bacher said he was told of the impending problem Wednesday afternoon.

“I got a phone call from Niagara Mohawk alerting us of what might happen,” he said.

As each call was checked first by the Dolgeville Fire Department, and then by NiMo crews, small leaks were found at some locations. The chief’s home was one of them.

“They found a small leak in my kitchen and repaired it,” he said.

Workers said the additive just accentuated leaks that have been there for a while, but were too small to detect. That is until the extra additive was mistakenly injected into the system.

Workers said several other homes that had very small leaks were also fixed.

Residents in Dolgeville could be seen peering out of their windows or doors wondering what was going on. At one point, as many as three NiMo trucks were on Faville Avenue checking on where to go next.

NiMo workers said the problem would cease once the chemical made its way through the system to its ending point at Pinecrest.