AP NEWS

Responders have busy morning with construction accident, gas leak

November 16, 2018

Unrelated emergencies Thursday morning had Norfolk’s emergency personnel stretched a bit thin.

A construction accident at the site of Faith Regional Health Service’s Medical Offices South, 2701 Norfolk Ave., injured three people when a concrete pump truck tilted.

One of the construction workers was transported across the street to Faith Regional’s west campus, while the other two were considered “walking wounded” and declined to be transported, said Norfolk Fire Chief Scott Cordes.

Workers had been in the process of pouring concrete when the concrete boom hit one of the workers, he said.

Across town at 10:26 a.m., first responders from Norfolk Fire & Rescue and the Norfolk Police Division evacuated multiple individuals from an apartment building and some residences on North Sixth Street after a 1-inch gas line in an alley behind the apartments was hit.

Norfolk High School was alerted of the situation, too, and was instructed to “shelter in place” because of the leak, Cordes said.

Jason Settles, a Norfolk High administrator, said police officers informed the school at about 11:15 a.m. that students and staff were in no danger because the situation was controlled quickly and the school could continue with its regular class schedule. Students and staff also were given permission to leave for lunch.

For a short time, North Sixth Street was blocked off but reopened soon after.

Cordes said it took about 10 firefighters and three rigs about 45 minutes to control the gas leak by clamping the line. Once the leak was stopped, Black Hills Energy and the Norfolk Fire Division staff monitored the air quality, and the evacuees were allowed to return to their homes and apartments.

Representatives of Black Hills Energy remained on the scene to secure the damaged line, Cordes said.

There was no information immediately available as to exactly what happened to cut the gas line, but Cordes said he believed utility workers may have nicked the line.

Two other unrelated medical emergencies just after 10 a.m. and at 10:18 a.m. had already tied up some first responders prior to the construction accident and gas leak

“It’s just been kind of a crazy morning. These things seem to happen in clusters,” Cordes said.

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