Local News

Gas leak at Oxford biofuels center prompts evacuations

Posted February 16, 2011 11:08 a.m. EST
Updated February 16, 2011 4:35 p.m. EST

— 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.