Gas line ruptures significantly up from last year

Gas line ruptures significantly up from last year

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Lubbock is a growing city and with that comes some growing pains, dig crews are striking gas lines.

Year-to-date, more than 25 natural gas lines across the city have ruptured, releasing deadly invisible gas. Just this month there have been at least six. Most can be traced back to construction.

"Mostly 3rd party contractors that are not related to Atmos energy," said Marinda Heinrich, Manager of Public Affairs at Atmos Energy. "I know there's a lot of fiber going into the ground around Lubbock."

Each time a line is broken, first responders are sent out to quarantine the situation.

"A lot of the times if we know houses are next door, cause a lot of these are in alleys, you know if there's houses on either side we'll go in and if the people are home we'll ask to come inside so that we can run our monitors inside their house because you never know, it could be coming from the ground but be blowing straight to this house," said Capt. Kevin Ivy with Lubbock Fire Rescue.

If you are at home and you smell gas, Ivy said get out and immediately call 911.

"Make sure you don't turn off any light switches, don't turn off the TV or anything like that because anytime you turn that light switch on or off it creates a little spark even inside of there," he said.

Heinrich said prevention is key to prevent striking a line and preventing a possible fine.

"If anyone is going to plan on doing any kind of digging, whether you're a contractor or a homeowner, whoever, there's a free service and you call 8-1-1 and you give them 48 hours for all the utilities to come and mark their lines," Heinrich said.

Each line will be marked with a certain color to signify which kind of line is under the ground.

Once marked you cannot use any machinery to dig within 18 inches of the line, if you do and you break a line it will likely cost you.

"There are some fines associated with that, both with the contractor and, for example if our locators go out and miss a line they could also be fined," she said.

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