By Judy Sheridan
Emergency Services District No. 1 Assistant Chief Stephen Watson was on his way to work around 8 a.m. Thursday when he was flagged down by contractors working on FM 1187, 50 yards south of the Kwik Kar.
On the west side of the road workers had just severed an unmarked 4-inch gas line with a track-hoe excavator, he said, and as he rolled down his window, he could both smell and hear the gas escaping.
“It was a gas transmission line,” he said, “under a lot more pressure than a line going to a house.”
Contractors were already on the phone to 9/1/1, he said, and Aledo VFD responded quickly, blocking the roadway and evacuating the Kwik Kar and one nearby residence.
“North Texas Gas Company was on the scene in 20 minutes,” Watson, also an Aledo volunteer, said. “We stood by with fire equipment until they were able to clamp it off.”
Watson said traffic was stopped and electronic devices — with static electricity — shut off to avoid igniting the flammable gases in the air.
“We had a representative from Texas Gas measure the gas levels downwind on Roberts Street,” he said, “but they weren’t high enough for evacuation.”
The fact that he happened upon the accident probably saved a few minutes, Watson said.
FM 1187 was shut down for about an hour and a half, reopening at about 9:30 a.m.
Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall commended Aledo VFD at the council session Thursday night for doing “an admirable job.”
“It could have been devastation,” she said, “but there were no casualties and no injuries.”