Before 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Lubbock Fire Rescue was called to 48th Street and Avenue D for a gas leak. Atmos Energy said LFR evacuated 16 homes as a precaution.
Atmos Energy said gas leaks like the one Thursday are becoming more frequent. Atmos said it was the fourth gas leak in the area in four days.
“We’ve had about 52 line strikes this year in Lubbock alone,” said Marinda Heinrich, manager of public affairs at Atmos Energy.
A contractor working in the area cut a four-inch gas line, according to Atmos. However, it wasn’t just those who had to leave their homes who were affected, but businesses as well.
“It hurts because nobody can come in or out, so we’re basically shut down right now, we’re open but no one can get in here, so yeah, it does hurt,” said Kimberly Cantu, owner of Beevers Radiator Shop.
Heinrich says there are ways to prevent gas leaks from happening.
“It is a problem that we combat. It’s just more of an educational issue with contractors, always getting them to know about 811. Just with one quick phone call, they can get all the lines marked in the alleys all the underground utilities will do that free of charge,” Heinrich said.
A leak can still happen if you’re not careful when digging around those marks.
“Everything was marked here in this instance, so it’ll just be an opportunity for us to investigate and find out what happened,” Heinrich said.
They say gas leaks happen if these steps are not followed properly.
“There’s a tolerance zone where you cannot dig, which is 18 inches on either side of those markings plus half the diameter of the pipe, so you’ll see the yellow flags in the ground, that indicates there’s a gas pipeline in the ground,” Heinrich said. “There will also be some paint on the ground that will tell you what type of pipe it is, and it’ll give you the dimensions of the pipe.”