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Gas leaks threaten Belmont residents

Kimmie+Ct.+residents+were+required+to+evacuate+their+homes+Oct.+6+as+a+result+of+a+gas+leak+caused+by+drilling.
Kimmie Ct. residents were required to evacuate their homes Oct. 6 as a result of a gas leak caused by drilling.

Kimmie Ct. residents were required to evacuate their homes Oct. 6 as a result of a gas leak caused by drilling.

Mandy Hitchcock

Mandy Hitchcock

Kimmie Ct. residents were required to evacuate their homes Oct. 6 as a result of a gas leak caused by drilling.

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Julia Cogan, mother of two, had only her family’s safety in mind as she and her sons were evacuated Saturday morning, Oct. 6, by the local Belmont Fire Department.

This incident, and similar cases, have recently occurred around the hills of Belmont’s residential area.

The reason?

Gas leaks. Underground construction is risky business. Navigating the intricate system of pipes beneath the layers of concrete invites accidents. So when drilling a few meters from their home struck a pipe, the leak prompted immediate action.

“It started to smell pretty strongly of gas and then came a loud knocking and you think you’re dreaming, but all of a sudden the fire department said we had to evacuate because of a gas leak—that’s when I noticed there was a giant hole in front of our garage,” Daniel Cogan, a freshman, said.

His mother was also going through her morning motions when firemen from Fire Station 14 alerted her as well as the neighbors of the Kimmie Ct. cul-de-sac.

“My reaction was just to get everyone to safety. I completely forgot to take my wallet and even my phone,” Julia Cogan said. “[But] since the fire department arrived quickly, I knew we were in good hands, and I was not worried.”

Sean Reardon is a firefighter at Belmont Fire Station 15 who has been on duty during similar gas leak situations.

“When we respond as part of the 911 call, we will generally evacuate the house, or if the people are unable to do that, do a shelter in place and tell them to close their windows and doors and stay inside. We also make sure to keep vehicles out of the area, as well as pedestrians,” Reardon said.

However, the weekend’s demands still needed to be met, and Daniel Cogan did not let the gas leak completely ruin his priorities.

“I was just thinking ‘I have to get ready for a math test,’ and it wasn’t until it all blew over that it caught up to me. I was still in my pajamas, I only had my phone with me, and I was like, ‘Oh, wait a minute. My house could have actually blown up because there was a gas leak,’” he said.

According to Reardon, the gas leaks happening around Belmont are usually a result of private underground construction initiated by homeowners. The process should have homeowners call 811 and contact a service that marks the pipes where construction would be digging.

“If you smell gas, the first step would be to call 911. And once 911 gets there, listen to whatever the fire department has to say,” Reardon said.

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However, contrary to the typical cause of gas leakage, the cause for construction on Kimmie Ct. was towards improved Internet reliability. According to Afshin Oskoui, the Belmont Public Works Director, “a contractor working for AT&T hit a service lateral while trenching for new conduit.”

“I feel that AT&T has grown as a company, but their responsibility to people has diminished, to say the least; the AT&T crew should be more careful next time,” Julia Cogan said. “We are safe, but what if we did, in fact, have a fire and if lives were lost? What if it happened when the kids were home by themselves?”

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About the Contributor
Mandy Hitchcock, Staff Writer

Mandy is currently a junior at Carlmont High School. Apart from running, music, and homework, she spends her free time playing with her dog and going out...

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Gas leaks threaten Belmont residents