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City not privy to pipeline locations inside own borders

By Kathy Antoniotti Beacon Journal staff writer

Published: August 3, 2013 – 11:12 PM


Steven Leslie, Fire Chief of the City of New Franklin Fire Department walks through the area of a recent natural gas line rupture off Dailey Road. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)

NEW FRANKLIN: It didn’t take long for New Franklin’s fire chief to know his community was in danger.

The force of the natural gas spewing from the transmission line sounded like a freight train and was creating a combustible cloud overhead as residents slept or were just getting up for another workday.

For fire Chief Steve Leslie, a frightening scenario was playing out on this July morning.

Without detailed maps showing the various pipelines running beneath his feet, all Leslie could do is rely on the State Fire Marshal’s Emergency Response Guide.

The only option was to call for the immediate evacuation of 75 homes and wait.

For some 90 minutes, Leslie and other firefighters did just that.

They monitored dangerous levels of gas in the air and herded residents to safety while workers from Dominion East Ohio Gas toiled to shut off the transmission line. The break in the line roared as some 1,400 pounds of pressure per square inch escaped containment.

Leslie said they got lucky that the rupture was near a field of soybeans and not in a residential area. The flammable cloud drifted harmlessly over the Nimisila Reservoir.

Without detailed maps of such lines, Leslie said, it is hard to safely determine the exact spot of a break and quickly assess the potential danger.


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