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Gas line erupts; area temporarily evacuated

July 6, 2017 GMT

Construction workers apparently struck a gas line while working on the 15th Street road project about 1:30 Thursday afternoon.

The Fort Madison Fire Department and Fort Madison Police Department responded and evacuated the area from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

“As far as I know, the crew that was doing the street work hit a gas line on the east side of 15th and B,” said director Larry Driscoll.

Driscoll said MidAmerican Energy and the fire department were called to the scene to mitigate the gas exposure to the public.

“MidAmerican was able to stop the line from spewing out any more natural gas” about 3:30, Driscoll said, and people were safe to return to their homes then.

Dustin Foley, who lives on the 200 block of 15th Street, was getting ready to grill out of his garage when the gas line erupted.

He had turned on the grill, went inside the house to get the food, and when he came back out with the food, “I heard a very loud boom.

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“The sound of the air being released from the pipe was extremely loud,” Foley said. “It shook the house and the windows that were in the garage.”

Foley turned to look outside and saw “about a 100-foot cloud of dirt in the air.” He saw two construction workers leave the area immediately to get assistance.

“You could hear small pieces of dirt hitting the house from the force of the gas or air coming out of the pipe,” Foley said.

Driscoll said the 15th Project is expected to be done by the end of July.