A potentially dangerous gas main break in the Congress Park section of Brookfield was cleared without major incident last Thursday, according to Brookfield Fire Chief Patrick Lenzi.
The incident occurred at 11:50 a.m. on Aug. 4, when a crew working on the village’s water main replacement project struck and severed a 2-inch PVC pipe serving as a high-pressure gas line near the intersection of Congress Park and Madison avenues, spewing natural gas into the air.
Reached Tuesday morning, Village Engineer Derek Treichel, who was on vacation when the incident occurred, said he was not yet sure exactly who was responsible for the damage or how it was done.
Lenzi said the village’s fire department cordoned off the area, including Arthur and Madison avenues from Shields Avenue to Gerristen Avenue. Congress Park Avenue was closed off from Maple Avenue to Raymond Avenue. In addition, fire personnel from LaGrange, Riverside, Lyons and McCook responded to the scene, while Forest View Fire Department personnel were called in to cover duties at the main Brookfield fire station.
Ambulances sent by LaGrange, Downers Grove and the Tri-State Fire Protection District in Darien covered three unrelated ambulance calls that the Brookfield Fire Department received during the time of the incident.
“We dropped two hose lines on the scene in case something happened,” Lenzi said. “There were never any flames.”
In addition to isolating the area, Lenzi said the fire department evacuated two houses on Madison Avenue, one in the 4400 block and one in the 4300 block, which were closest to the gas main break. Fire department personnel also checked to make sure the gas hadn’t seeped into any nearby houses, where an open pilot light or match could have ignited it.
According to Lenzi, the gas is actually more flammable as it disperses away from the source.
“The pipe emits a concentration of gas that’s real rich,” Lenzi said. “When it disperses is when it can have the optimal mixture to ignite. Luckily, no gas seeped into any houses.”
Fire personnel were on hand until roughly 3 p.m. when the scene was cleared, following repairs made by Nicor.