Update: Gas leak and water main both now fixed in Seaview

March 15, 2010 at 6:38 pm | In Seaview, Utilities, West Seattle news | 27 Comments

(Photo by Doug B, added 7:43 pm)
6:38 PM: Thanks to our friends at Illusions Hair Design (WSB sponsor) for the tip – a water break at 49th/Brandon in Seaview is affecting traffic and neighbors. Brandon westbound is closed at 48th, and 49th southbound is one lane at Brandon, where crews are working. Not sure how many homes are without water, but we just got a note from Steve at 49th and Findlay who says it’s out at his house (that’s a block south of the break). 7:41 PM UPDATE: There’s also a gas leak in the area (49th/Canada), and one commenter says it is related to the water-line repair work. So if you don’t have to go through this area – stay away TFN. (Thanks to the neighbors who are posting on-the-scene updates in the comment section.) 9:39 PM UPDATE: We’re at the scene – it’s a 16-inch water line that’s broken. At least one TV crew (KING5) is there too. Working to get the latest info. 9:51 PM UPDATE: SFD says the gas line work should be wrapped up in an hour. Here’s one of the pieces of heavy equipment that just arrived:

10:25 PM UPDATE: We’re heading back out there to check again, but while there a short time ago, SFD stressed that while the smell is bad, the gas that leaked is NOT at anything approaching a dangerous level. 10:42 PM UPDATE: From the scene – the gas line is fixed. Now the water work resumes, and that’s expected to take all night. Water is out from Brandon south to Graham, though we don’t have a count of how many homes are affected. We do know seven homes lost gas service, according to SFD Captain Mike Milam:

5:30 AM: As Wsguy also confirms in the comments, the water is back on – we just went down to check on the situation; one crew is left, filling in the hole:

27 Comments

  1. Also out at my house, on 49th b/t Juneau & Raymond. Seattle Public Utilities said it could be out throughout the night.

    Comment by Johanna — 6:56 pm March 15, 2010 #

  2. interesting…real time 911 says there’s a natural gas leak at 49th and Canada…wonder if the two are tied together?

    Comment by JanS — 6:58 pm March 15, 2010 #

  3. that wasn’t happening when this first was reported to us, more than an hour ago … but certainly not far away. Will try to run through there on my way to a completely non-breaking assignment in The Junction shortly …

    Comment by WSB — 7:00 pm March 15, 2010 #

  4. I am at the head of the closure . . . 49th and Dawson. Water is in working condition – I think. Ashamed to ask . . . if there is a water problem, does it happen immediately and obviously? I have a water heater . . . does that need to bottom out before there’s a problem? Thanks.

    Comment by shed22 — 7:03 pm March 15, 2010 #

  5. Wowsa. There is a gas leak in Seaview along 49th. Extremely strong smell. Fireman came by asking neighbors to close all windows and doors. They asked to stay tuned. Smell is horrible.

    Comment by shed22 — 7:24 pm March 15, 2010 #

  6. In digging the hole to repair the H2O main they broke a gas line. DOH!!

    Comment by I. Ponder — 7:32 pm March 15, 2010 #

  7. Seattle Utility workers trying to fix a water main leak damaged the gas line. One of the crew said water is out for about 10 blocks. They have to fix the gas leak before thay can fix the water main. They will continue working until it is fixed.

    We live on 49th and Brandon.

    Smell pretty strong there still.

    Comment by wsguy — 7:36 pm March 15, 2010 #

  8. Gas still leaking. Firemen posted numerous places, still smells strong, residents told to be ready to leave at a moments notice.

    Comment by smb — 8:37 pm March 15, 2010 #

  9. I live between Brandon and Findlay on 49th. We have no water but, the gas is still working, Walked down to take a few pics~8:00. A city Light guy charged up to me and told me “that thing (the camera I guess) had to go away. When I asked why he mumbled something about the flash. I asked if I could take some pics if I turned off the flash and he called for the fire department to escort me away.

    Oh well, no big deal I guess, it’s funny though, here I was supposedly posing some kind of threat of ignition to the gas while jack hammers were pulverizing concrete way closer to the gas leak than I and my little camera were.

    Comment by KP — 9:11 pm March 15, 2010 #

  10. Just spoke with fireman

    utility crews have to cut concrete on both sides of gas leak. They can’t work on the leak with all the water from the water leak.

    Plan is to crimp the line on both sides then splice in a new piece.
    Then they can start on the water main again.

    Kudos to the firemen for being cool.

    Puget Sound Energy guys – not at all…

    Comment by Wsguy — 9:34 pm March 15, 2010 #

  11. First off, any fireman who tells you not to use flash is extremely ill-informed and is responding as if in a panic. Flash tubes are sealed. If they weren’t they wouldn’t work. Bogus warning does not instill confidence. And, you would have to have a very rich mixture of natural gas to even consider a flash-point hazard with any open flame or spark. Which means somewhere between a few feet and maybe a dozen feet from the actual leak – natural gas dissipates handily in normal atmosphere and most delivery lines are supplying too high a pressure for the gas to ignite at the source of the leak.

    Comment by chas redmond — 10:05 pm March 15, 2010 #

  12. Looks like the gas line is fixed (it is right in front of our house). Before you could see it spraying up, but now nothing.

    Comment by Ang — 10:36 pm March 15, 2010 #

  13. I added this in the story but do want to stress, SFD at the scene assured both us and the tv crew that was there that there is NOT a “rich mix” – it’s nowhere near potentially explosive levels. We have the SFD captain on video saying that, will be uploading it in a bit.

    Comment by WSB — 10:38 pm March 15, 2010 #

  14. Patrick is on the phone telling me this right now. Water won’t be back till sometime in the morning – they’re planning on an all-nighter – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:41 pm March 15, 2010 #

  15. I wonder why it took SPU so long to fix this H2O break. I called it in at 1115am this morning on the way to work.

    Comment by Mr Magoo — 10:48 pm March 15, 2010 #

  16. I heard it was a furlough day for the city crews.

    Comment by smb — 12:34 am March 16, 2010 #

  17. Water back on.. I’d let it run for a bit, kinda nasty.

    Sounds like they are dumping gravel now…

    Comment by Wsguy — 5:15 am March 16, 2010 #

  18. Thanks – Patrick just went down to check and returned with that news before I saw your comment! Adding to story!

    Comment by WSB — 5:29 am March 16, 2010 #

  19. thanks to westseattleblog for GOOD INFO. The rest of our supposedly “watching out for you” local news sources are pretty much worthless (or cumbersome) when attempting to get clued in. Thanks, from a resident at 49th & Graham.

    Comment by bug — 5:44 am March 16, 2010 #

  20. No prob. That’s our job. And thanks to everybody who tipped us to this – because there just aren’t official announcements “there’s been a break” from government agencies, unless something is humongous – nonetheless, a break involving 100 (at least) people, a couple of streets, two different utilities, is pretty humongous in our world. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:46 am March 16, 2010 #

  21. A big shout out to 24 hour fitness who let my teenage daughter and I use their shower facilities last night. We were both really needed a shower and were worried it wouldn’t be possible in the morning. We’re not members – but maybe we will consider becoming members since they were so accommodating!

    Comment by Karen — 6:11 am March 16, 2010 #

  22. Out of all those affected by the water outage how many of those were prepared as per the guidelines suggested at ready.gov or the American Red Cross?

    Comment by kg — 10:20 am March 16, 2010 #

  23. CHASREDMOND, FYI The camera this gentleman was carrying was not certified intrinsically safe. Regardless of the sealed flash. He was in fact within the 12 foot range of the leak. Was also standing 3 feet away from the jack hammering operation about to begin with no ear, eye or head protection. This gentleman was allowed to take pictures for several minutes all around the leak. He continued to get closer and closer to the danger area until he was in it. At what point do we not allow people to endanger themselves and sacrifice their freedoms? The gas company asked him to leave and when he didn’t they asked us to have him leave. The SFD cited several reasons for not having him stand in the danger area, all for his own protection. The SFD was not “Ill-informing” the public with “Bogus” info nor was there any panic going on by anyone in uniform. As the self appointed expert in natural gas “flash points” you would know that Flash Point is defined as the temperature at which a flammable liquid emits ignitable vapor (-306F for NG). I’m sure you meant that NG ignites @ between 5%-15% in open air with any ignition source. That is far from a “very rich mixture” as you put it. Your weak estimations are based on not being there and not taking any LEL readings. You could be 20 feet away and achieve 5%-15%. So the next time you want to spout off and bad mouth the fire department at least get your facts and terminology straight.

    Comment by Eleventruckmen — 10:26 am March 16, 2010 #

  24. Thanks, Eleventruckmen! I love it when people get trumped hard on this “blog” (not “the news”) site. The difference is, a “blog” will (and does) post opinion, while the “news” orgs will wait until official word before reporting to the public. The reason for that is because the “news” do not want to cause panic or create a scenario where they have to retract a report they post. If that happened, you would start to NOT use that source for news after a couple of “mistakes” in reporting? Sooner or later, poeple will realize WSB is a “blog.” After all, “blog” is the “B” in “WSB.”

    Comment by AnotherIdiotInWS — 1:19 pm March 16, 2010 #

  25. AIWS, perhaps you’re just trying to poke the nest. However, comments exist on all news sites – not just blog-format sites. (“Blog” is a publishing format. That’s all.) We do not do opinion – though “newspaper” sites have been known to. Patrick, I and the freelancers who work with us are professional journalists reporting the news and if you have a problem with what was published in the news story over the comments here, please describe it – comment sections on news sites are not “the news” itself, but comments on TV, radio and newspaper sites also appear in real-time, as comments do here. Thanks. – Tracy
    .
    PS – Followup story:
    http://westseattleblog.com/2010/03/followup-what-caused-the-watergas-double-trouble-in-seaview

    Comment by WSB — 1:35 pm March 16, 2010 #

  26. No, WSB…. I was poking at the short-sightedness of comments such as “bug” on how the news orgs couldn’t get him word fast enough – as though they were too clumsy to do so. I love WSB, mostly for what it’s intention is supposed to be – news and events about my neighborhood. If you were NOT the first to report what was going on with that gas and water leak, I would be upset! You guys are amazing at getting to the site quickly. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by AnotherIdiotInWS — 6:12 pm March 16, 2010 #

  27. I looked at all the news sites online. And Seattle Times. There was little to no information. I then went to the WSB and there was more information.

    Not sure how Mr. Ryan from SPU can talk about maps other than SPU maps of water and sewer. There was a call to 811 or “Call before you dig” (CBYD) for an emergency locate at 1:25PM. PSE has a company they contract with to locate the gas lines prior to excavation. And there were other responders on the ticket. You can find this at http://www.searchandstatus.com The ticket #10053151.

    In response to the grips of not being able to take pictures, Eleven is very correct. But also look what happened in Minnesota in Feburary.
    http://www.KSTP.com/article/stories/s1397708.shtml?cat=1 and
    http://www.KSTP.com/article/stories/s1433738.shtml?cat=1

    The gas damage could have infiltrated a sewer line and destoryed a house or worse.

    Presently I am on a Damage Prevention Work Group to help rewrite the States “One-Call” Law, RCW 19.122, to help prevent damages like these that could result in injuries and possible death to people. And we were in a meeting yesterday morning when I heard of this damage.

    As a word of advice please call 811, before digging. It is the law.

    Comment by KMG — 1:30 pm March 17, 2010 #

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