Police: Esky area safe following gas leak

ESCANABA – Residents living in the area of 14th Avenue North and North 22nd Street were evacuated Friday afternoon when a natural gas line was struck sending a geyser of natural gas and dirt into the air.

DTE Energy was on scene when Escanaba Public Safety officers arrived at the gas leak at approximately 1 p.m. The leak is believed to have been caused when a crew installing underground fiber optic cables struck a larger-sized, steel gas line.

Officers on scene evacuated homes in a one-block radius surrounding the leak while DTE officials began digging down to the pipe by hand.

After being kept from their homes for three hours, residents were allowed to return to their homes after the leaking pipe was crimped shut around 3:10 p.m.

There is no longer any danger of ignition or explosions in the area. However because the pipe was sealed, approximately 15 residences on 14th Avenue North and South 22nd Street were without gas service Friday night, according to public safety.

During the leak, roads around the site were closed. All roads are open for traffic again, however road cones were in place around the leak Friday night and public safety urged drivers to use caution around the site to avoid DTE workers.

“It’s my understanding that they’re going to stay out there until it’s done,” said Escanaba Public Safety Sgt. Jamie Silverstone Friday. Service was expected to resume this morning.

On scene at the leak were Escanaba Public Safety, DTE Energy, and the Escanaba Public Works Department, which placed barricades to reroute traffic. Public Safety dispatched a fire truck to the leak as a precaution.