Emergency crews finished repairing a gas leak that required over 170 people to leave their homes at the Springwood Lake Campground on Wednesday. Residents were allowed to return to their homes as of 5 p.m. Thursday, when the Manager of the Stark County Hazardous Materials Team, Tom Garra, declared the scene safe.
Firefighters arrived at the campgrounds around 9 p.m. Wednesday after a security guard noticed a strange smell while making rounds. She got out of her vehicle to investigate and found gas and oil leaking from the ground. The Emergency Management Agency discovered that the cause of the leaking gas and oil was a 30 foot pipeline that sits six to eight feet beneath the ground.
Residents were woken up just after 6 a.m. Wednesday morning and told they needed to evacuate the campgrounds. When everyone was safely removed from the area, emergency crews began to dig a 10 to 12 foot hole into the ground surrounding the pipe. They also needed to reduce the pressure in the pipe, which normally sits at about 140 pounds per square inch, down to 60 in order to work on fixing the leak. From there they were able to patch the nickel-sized hole and stop the gas leak.
A nearby pond was also believed to be contaminated, but local environmental crews arrived at about noon on Thursday to remove soil that might have been affected by the leak. Wells with drinking water were also inspected for contamination and declared by officials to be safe.
Luckily this leak was a small one, and no one suffered any injuries. Residents are advised to take caution in the future and be aware of gas leaks that may occur in homes. To prevent leaks, homeowners should ensure that they turn gas-powered appliances off after use. Leak detectors, which are often used to test leaks in refrigeration and air conditioning units, auto parts and aerosol packages, can alert homeowners to dangerous gas leaks. Anyone who suspects a gas leak in their home should leave immediately and contact emergency personnel.