School Closings And Delays

Gas Leak Prompts Evacuations, Power Outage in Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE -- A natural gas leak in Wilkes-Barre Tuesday afternoon led to evacuations and a precautionary power outage, according to city officials.

UGI crews were working in the 100 block of South Meade Street when the gas leak happened.

Firefighters evacuated 12 homes and one person was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Tim Lavelle lives on this block of South Meade Street. He says the gas pipes in this part of the neighborhood are older, so having UGI in the area inspecting them isn't a rare occurrence.

"We had people from UGI that came to our house for a normal inspection, earlier, probably about 10:30 this morning. Then by 12:30 we were being evacuated from our homes along with our neighbors in the neighborhood," Lavelle said.

Just before 1 p.m. Tuesday, the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department was called for a natural gas emergency. Fire officials and UGI workers found a major gas leak and extremely high levels of natural gas in the air.

"In the early stages of this emergency, the readings were high enough that we had to have PPL shut the power off," explained Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.

That's when 12 homes were evacuated, and one woman was taken to the hospital. Neighbors say she is 80 years old and it was protocol because of other health reasons.

"When you came outside, you could smell the gas in the air," said Lavelle. "Our concern was to make sure we got everyone out of their homes. We were helping neighbors who have infant children getting their children out of their houses, everyone with pets, and things of that nature."

The evacuation lasted for a little less than two hours. When repairs were done and gas readings got low enough, PPL was able to restore power safely.

UGI stayed on the scene to finish repairs.

"One-man crew turned into what appears to be the whole department now, so I can't complain about the response and everyone seems to be careful about what's going on and the people around us," Lavelle added.

12 comments

  • LLOYD SCHMUCATELLI has gas

    Sorry – can’t pick on Lloyd. He’s cool. Plus he has two L’s in his name.

  • el ma has gas

    How is it that people are absolved of any responsibility for their own actions? It is absolute common sense to slow down, look, and CHECK to see if gas is coming whenever one approaches a gas crossing. Gas requires up to a solid mile to
    stop.It’s like all of these warning labels that you see on the 5 gallon gas buckets: NOT A TOY. Someone, at some time,
    had to place gas in one of those buckets for them to “play” in, and the gas drowned as a result of the parent’s negligence.
    Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeesh………

  • archie beal has gas

    Here we go again….I cannot say it enough…gas has no place in society…it needs to go…government needs to step in and take control…you don’t see or hear of problems such as this in countries where government has control.

    • Hank

      This is why I promote propane. It is so much more refined. Natural gas is well natural and wild and will go where ever it wants to go.

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