PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — People who live in a 10-story apartment building in Dormont were forced out of their homes after a natural gas leak Tuesday night and they had no idea they were in danger.
Steam from a broken water pipe set off the smoke alarm in a building on Voelkel Avenue.
When firefighters arrived, they didn’t find flames, but they did detect high levels of natural gas.
They immediately evacuated all 10 units.
“You could have had an explosive situation because the level of gas when the rep from Columbia Gas walked in,” Dormont Fire Captain Jeff Stakich said, “he noticed it on his meter. It pegged right away.”
Stakich said the frigid temperatures caused problems for utility crews who couldn’t immediately shut of the gas because of a frozen stem underground.
Displaced tenants were offered shelter in a mobile command unit from Mt. Lebanon.
“We were starting to encourage the firefighters to get in because even though they have a lot of layers of clothes,” Deputy Chief Chris Buttlar said. “They’ve been stuck outside for hours as well.”
The gas was finally shut off and tenants with electric heat were able to return to their units. The other half of the building has gas heat.
Those families are staying with friends and relatives.