After gas line rupture, work continues on McDonald’s site

Published 8:36 am Friday, April 21, 2017

After gas line rupture, work continues on McDonald’s site

Work continues Thursday as the site of the old McDonald’s is cleared to make room for the chain’s updated restaurant at the corner of Hwy. 6 and 51.
The Panolian photo by Rupert Howell

By Rupert Howell
Demolition of the local McDonald’s on Highway 6 could have led to a possible disaster, City Code Enforcement Officer John McCollum told Batesville’s board of mayor and aldermen Tuesday prior to their approval of McCollum’s filing a complaint with the Mississippi Board of Contractors.
McCollum said that 9,000 cubic feet of gas escaped from a ruptured 3/4” natural gas line before it was cut off.  Fire Chief Tim Taylor said his department was never notified that gas was leaking at the site.
Johnson Construction was billed almost $1,000 for the leaked gas that occurred due to the company doing the demolition not following 811 protocol which requires a two-day notice prior to digging.
McCollum likened the action to a “spit in the face of the city. . . with no regard to the safety of the citizens of Batesville.”
McCollum said two “Stop Work” orders had been issued during the process.
The building inspector said the latter “stop work” order was issued after he received a call from the Department of Environmental Quality stating that debris from the building was being placed in an area on Lawrence Brothers Road.
McCollum visited the area along with Panola County Land Use Enforcement officer Chad Meek and found not only the McDonald’s debris, but debris from a recently burned-out Batesville residence on Boothe Street that was demolished and moved also by Johnson Construction.
Batesville Building Code Administrator Pam Comer said the Boothe Street demolition was begun without a permit and the construction company was charged an extra fee for not following protocol which amounted to twice the amount of the $50 permit.
The second Stop Work order remained in effect until the Lawrence Brothers Road location was cleared of debris and a receipt was provided that proved it was placed in a properly licensed landfill in Water Valley.
Demolition and removal of debris was proceeding this week as the site at the corner of Highways 6 and 51 is readied for a new McDonalds to be constructed.

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