DeKALB – A major gas leak forced apartment evacuations and closure of the Union Pacific railroad line Monday.
Construction crews working at the CVS Pharmacy on Annie Glidden Road and West Lincoln Highway struck a major gas line a little after 9:45 a.m., causing a leak that prompted the DeKalb Fire and Police departments to evacuate the nearby Colonial Townhouse apartments at 1010 W. Lincoln Highway.
DeKalb Interim Fire Chief Eric Hicks said all on-duty firefighters responded to the leak and spent a little less than two hours scrubbing the gas vapors and constantly hosing down the break point on the gas line to reduce the risk of a fire and quell the fumes.
Hicks said trains also were stopped on the tracks as a speeding train could ignite a fire. Firefighters were also monitoring the gas levels at nearby businesses and residences.
By 12:06 p.m., Hicks said the gas line was turned off and responders had cleared the area. Trains could continue operation and it was safe for residents of Colonial Townhouses to go back inside. Firefighters monitored the gas levels from The Junction parking lot next to the CVS.
Hicks said it was "safe within minutes" for residents of Colonial Townhouses to go back inside because natural gas mitigates itself and does not hang in the air. He said Nicor employees were working to fix the gas line as police and firefighters were leaving the scene.