GAS PLUME 100-FT. IN AIR
ONEONTA – Neighbors in the vicinity of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, a half-block from Fox Hospital, are back in their homes after construction crews on the water-main replacement ruptured a primary natural gas line.
The 9:15 a.m. accident sent a plume of gas 100 feet into the air, according to eyewitness Michael Forster Rothbart. “I thought it was smoke,” he said. “It looked like the Red Door church was on fire.”
Oneonta Police and Fire Departments and NYSEG rushed to the scene, immediately shutting off the gas line, evacuating residents “two houses in” from Main Street” in a 10-block area, according to Mayor Gary Herzig.
The police also closed the area between Lettis Highway and Fifth Street to traffic.
Evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes at about 11 a.m. But Herzig said the area will remained closed to traffic until 2 p.m. “to allow time to repair the broken gas line.” Until then, traffic will be diverted from Main Street in Oneonta between Walling and Draper Streets until 2 pm.
Center Street was also briefly closed off but was reopened at 10:45 am. Power was expected to be returned to 103 neighborhood residences by 12:45 pm, according to a NYSEG spokesperson.
“The fire and police departments and NYSEG did an outstanding job in responding to the gas leak,” Herzig said.
Main Street was shut to traffic between Lettis Highway and Fifth Street while Oneonta firefighters and state and local police responded to the scene. NYSEG workers capped the gas line.
All traffic remains diverted from Main Street in Oneonta between Walling and Draper Streets until 2 pm. Center Street was also briefly shut but had been reopened as of 10:45 am. Roosevelt Avenue will remain closed, according to the city of Oneonta emergency alerts service.
Power was returned to 103 homes in the neighborhood by 12:45 p.m., NYSEG said.