Speakout 7/17

Monday, July 17, 2006

Yesterday we closed our business and went to lunch. When we returned, the police had our street blocked off and all streets leading to our area, as there was a gas main leak between Satterfield Wrecker Service and the railroad track. We were allowed to get our puppy out of our shop and lock the shop down as it was taking all afternoon to get the leak stopped, the whole area was blocked by barriers and police. However, the Rainbow Daycare that had young children in it had not been alerted to the potential danger of an explosion, let alone the breathing the natural gas that was gushing out. In my opinion, had this happened in other areas of Sikeston and not where it did happen, all of the people would have been evacuated. When I went in and locked the shop, the odor of the gas was so strong that it made my muscles ache and I held my breath as much as possible so it wouldn't damage my lungs. Had there been an explosion, the whole block would have been destroyed and with the innocent children in the daycare, there would have been a lot of deaths. I am upset with how the authorities handled the whole incident.

Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden offered the following response: "The gas leak that occurred on the date referenced on the SpeakOut article is due to the fact that a gentlemen ran over a high-

pressured gas line causing natural gas to leak out of a three-quarter inch pipe. The area was sealed off to protect from the ignition of the gas that was leaking from the severed line. Upon our arrival, monitoring was done of the area and with the results of that monitoring, our evacuation distances were determined.The daycare and other affected residents were notified of the incident and were given the opportunity to self-evacuate as they were in no immediate danger. The area was closely monitored during the entire incident as to the gas levels and concentrations. At no time was there any danger of an explosion.It does not matter which area of town incidents occur in. We serve all people of the community and we serve them all equally and professionally. Had there been an ignition of the gas, there would have just been a plume fire that would have been located in and around the particular leak area. Monitoring was done throughout the incident by emergency personnel as well as the gas company. The delay to getting this incident was mitigated by the fact that the gas company personnel were located in Jackson and had to respond from that location before they could seal the breach in the pipe.I can assure you that this incident was handled as professionally and expeditiously as possible, given the circumstances at hand."

Concerning the railroad routing through town. Topographic maps show an old spur that went from Brooks Junction near Morley down to Vanduser where it split with one line going south to Salcedo and the other continuing over and connecting with the existing line near the cat litter factory near Avert. Some point in time a railroad executive felt it wasn't economical to keep these lines open. So they pulled up the tracks and sold off the right of way. Now I have to consider selling my house in the near future as I don't want to listen to trains coming through every hour.