Son of It’s a Gas Gas Gas


Yesterday afternoon, we began smelling gas out front and it seemed to be coming from in front of the house next door, where we had had a major gas leak a couple of weeks ago. Some of the smell also seemed to be coming from the driveways between our houses; there’s a small iron access cover there that may allow gas to escape.

Washington Gas came out in the middle of Hurricane Sandy and determined there was a leak, coming out of the ground itself and from under that cover, but that it wasn’t dangerous because of the wind. They promised to be out today to fix it.

As good as their word, the Washington Gas crew is out front with a big digging machine on a flatbed truck and they’re hard at work to solve the problem.

What it appears to me is that the rain caused the temporary asphalt patch put in by the WSSC sewer-line replacement crew to sag, which may have popped the repaired gas line. So that means the Washington Gas folks will have to dig up the street yet again to put that pesky line in place.

This entire sewer-repair effort has been fraught with interest, as my Granny used to say.

I sure don’t envy those Washington Gas staff’s job today; it’s a cold, wet miserable day to have to dig up a street in search of a gas leak. I’m sure these folks have places they’d rather be, homes or family that may be feeling the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy, and there’s surely an element of risk in such an undertaking. And, let’s face it; they’re really having to fix a problem someone else created for them.

Yet they are efficient, cheerful, informative and dedicated. Thanks, Washington Gas! Anyone who helps keep my family, neighbors and me from being blown to atoms has my unstinting support and admiration!!!

It’s a Gas Gas Gas!


I’m so proud of my Boston terrier, Murphy. He is truly a wonder dog.

Aaron and Murphy during our excitement.

I was taking a nap this afternoon about 3pm, and, as is the norm, Murphy was sleeping at the foot of my bed. My son, Aaron, who has a cold, was also asleep. Patty was at work.

Suddenly Murphy jumps on my head and starts barking incessantly. He’s never done that before. So I get up, get dressed, opened the bedroom door and was overpowered by the smell of gas. I ran downstairs, thinking that perhaps Aaron had somehow started a fire in the kitchen and the smell was even worse there.

Then it dawned on me: The street repair folks out front must have broken a gas line. I ran out on the front porch and the smell of gas was overwhelming and you could hear it hissing loudly. The crew, except for one staunch fellow and one staunch woman, had hauled ass down the street a ways.

My neighbor next door, Karl, who works nights, walked onto his front porch with a cup of coffee and an unlit cigarette in his mouth. I yelled, “Hey, Karl; I wouldn’t light that if I were you!”

Neighbors Karl and Bill; we’re cracking jokes once safely down the street.

I got Aaron up and leashed Murphy and, joined by Karl, we all went down to the corner; on the way, we saw Buddy, another neighbor, poke his head out of his front door and told him to get out of his house. By now the smell was super strong.

I called 911 and the Hyattville Fire Department showed up very quickly. The Washington Gas folks weren’t as prompt, but they showed up after about 40 minutes and sent a crew down to the hole in the street where gas had been spraying out all this time.

Hyattsville Fire Department pros suit up before walking to the gas leak.

Washington Gas trucks arrive.

Brave young men.

After about 40 more minutes, the gas line was capped and the Washington Gas techs gave us the all clear. One of their techs, a really nice man, brought a sniffer wand into my house to make sure it had aired out after I had turned on all the ceiling fans and opened the windows.

From my front porch.

So all’s well that ends well. My only concern, and I expressed this pointedly to the WSSC contractor’s supervisor, the fire department folks and the folks from Washington Gas, is that somebody should have alerted the residents of the street that there was a problem and that they should (a) not turn on any flame and (b) vacate their homes until everything was safe again and (c) the contractor should have called 911.

And I am so proud of Murphy for knowing something was amiss and waking me up!!!

That white PVC pipe down in the hole is what broke.

Words to live by . . .

7pm Update:

Still at it!

The contractors are still hard at work; now they’re filling the hole where the gas line broke. I guess they’ve got a few more hours of work ahead of them.

I love the colors in this iPhone photo. On your left, about a third of the way from the bottom of the pic, is our friend, Little Blue Thing. That’s his headlight shining.

Buddy, one of our neighbors, walked over to Jefferson Street when the gas was escaping and he said the smell of gas was very evident at that point, well over a block from where it was whooshing out of its pipe. So we were lucky that all turned out well. Karl and the folks across the street, Colleen and Mar, still don’t have their gas restored, but everyone is hard at work trying to restore the service.

Morning After Update:

As the above photo indicates, this morning the contractors have marked the gas lines a lot more obviously than they had previously done. Before, there were just thin yellow lines of paint to show where the high-pressure gas lines were; now there’s big white lettering, too. The importance of good, clear graphics!

The Washington Gas guys told me that those gas lines have a pressure of 50psi, which doesn’t sound like much but can produce a huge volume of gas in the air when the pipe is ruptured, as our event yesterday afternoon proved.