Sav-A-Lot Gas Leak
By John Howell
Batesville Gas Department workers and emergency responders swiftly contained a gas leak Tuesday morning after a truck broke a grocery store’s gas meter, allowing pressurized natural gas to escape.
Sav-A-Lot owner Jerry Cranford said that he was in his store at Highway 6 and Bates Street when he heard a noise outside the store and then heard it again. A store worker who looked outside told Cranford that a “truck had hit the building two times and he was smelling gas,” Cranford said.
A 911 call about 7:30 a.m. brought police and fire department personnel as well as gas department workers.
“When I pulled up, I could hear it,” police officer Scott Cable said.
What Cable heard was natural gas under 15-pounds-per-square-in pressure escaping the line. The trailer had bent a rail guarding the meter and broken off the meter’s regulator, Batesville Gas Department Superintendent William Wilson said. The regulator decreases pressure from 15 pounds per square inch to four ounces per square inch for consumption inside the store building, Wilson said.
Gas Department worker Robert Wright walked up to the meter and shut the valve off, ending the gas escape, Wilson said.
Fire fighters and police officers evacuated the store and its parking lot until Wilson had checked inside the store and determined with a hand-held meter that the level of natural gas in the air was below one percent.
Cranford said it was “not the first time” his building had been struck by a truck.
Within minutes, the truck had again but this time uneventfully backed up for unloading and business inside Sav-A-Lot had returned to usual.