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Gas leak at Oxford biofuels center prompts evacuations

Posted February 16, 2011

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— A gas leak at the Biofuels Campus in Oxford displaced nearby residents from their homes and children from a day care for several hours Wednesday.

A worker with the state Department of Agriculture was backing up a forklift at the Biofuels Campus, along Oxford Outer Loop Road, around 8 a.m., said Stan Winborne, a spokesman with Granville County Emergency Management. The forklift struck a regulator valve that, in turn, punctured a 1-inch natural gas line

Crews capped the leak shortly before noon, and emergency officials lifted the evacuation order shortly after 2 p.m. once the area was deemed safe.

Fifteen children and several staff at the nearby Kid-A-Kademy were taken to West Oxford Elementary School, and seven neighboring homes were evacuated as a precaution, Winborne said.

"I wasn't scared. I was just trying to do what was best for my children," day care owner Christie Glover said.

"It was a little scary, but I know Miss Christie takes care of the kids very well, so she would have said (if) it was something more dangerous than that," said Robert Yurek, whose nephew goes to the day care.

There were no reports of anyone becoming sick from the leak.

Employees who were working near the leak were moved to a different part of the Biofuels Campus.

Agriculture department spokesman Brian Long said that the employee who struck the gas line will receive additional training.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • kcfoxie Feb 16, 2011

    First of all, we don't know if this was biodiesel or ethanol. I agree with the anti-corn ethanol pundits. We should all be driving diesels which have a far wider range of alternative fuels to use with a decades worth of testing from the user community to make the existing fuels works with existing and future technologies. That said, if the government would allow HEMP to be used for a sugar source for ethanol, the whole grains for ethanol debate would be moot. Growing our fuel IS the solution, red tape prevents it from being done with the right plants. Take your argument elsewhere.

  • jdupree Feb 16, 2011

    Biofuel is one of the big causes of unrest in the middle east. Diversion of food grains to refineries to produce gasohol is driving up the cost of grain and thus the cost of bread world wide. In countries where people make one or two dollars a day (Egypt) a slight rise in the cost of food is a tremendous problem. This does not appear to be a long term viable option to replace petroleum and it appears w/o the government supplement these folks could not survive.

  • cwood3 Feb 16, 2011

    Sounds like the Emergency Response System worked wel-that's a good think-all those meeeings and practices pay off when something like this happens!!

    Good job-Granville Co. Emergency Response Unit!!