Local News

Power Restored To PSNC Customers In Chapel Hill After Gas Explosion

Posted October 18, 2001

— Chapel Hill is back to normal after a fiery explosion Tuesday night.

Duke Power officials say that power was restored Wednesday morning, hours after a backhoe hit and cut a 4-inch natural gas line, sending flames shooting about 30 feet in the air and leaving more than 1,500 people in the dark.

The explosion injured one worker and shut down roads around the intersection of Estes Drive and Franklin Street. The crew had been working to repair water and sewer lines for the Department of Transportation for a couple of weeks, according to police.

Trees, utility poles and electrical wires were ignited by the blaze and created a gray, billowing smoke that gave off a rubbery smell. PSNC officials are looking into the incident. They claim that the gas lines were clearly marked.

"Unfortunately, accidents do happen," said PSNC spokesman Jerry O'Keeffe. "I can speak for our employees at PSNC that we have extensive training on safety and safety measures."

The Orange County Water and Sewer Authority says that the gas lines are clearly marked and says it is investigating the incident as well.

Chapel Hill firefighters and rescue personnel responded to the scene. The fire was out shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The worker was burned on the hands, arms and face and was taken to UNC Hospitals. No one else was injured.


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