EFFINGHAM — A natural gasline break led to at least one person being evacuated from a house on First Street, between St. Anthony Grade School and High School, with at least eight more residences being checked by the Effingham Fire Department. The fire department was called out at 11:11 a.m. Wednesday.
A gasline was struck while burrowing work was being done on sewerlines for the city by a private contractor, said Effingham Fire Captain Jeff Landrus. The break led to gas being released into the sewerlines, which then ran into residences along First Street, he added. At approximately 3:45 p.m., the gas leak was stopped, said Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy. Approximately eight homes will not have natural gas service until the line is completely repaired sometime Wednesday night. First Street remained closed until that time, added Holomy.
The eight homes checked also had their electricity service shut off until the gas leak was stopped to prevent an ignition source that could lead to a possible explosion, said Holomy.
St. Anthony High School was checked, and while there was a small gas reading, students were not present because of a school retreat. Staff there was advised by the fire department to exit the building if the smell intensified.