Gas Leak Results in Voluntary Evacuations

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

ELKHART – A gas leak shortly before noon on Wednesday, Aug. 1 resulted in voluntary evacuations for Elkhart residents, closed US Highway 287 for several hours and forced traffic to be diverted to several farm-to-market roads in and around the city.

According to officials at the scene, the leak occurred in front of the Eagle Rail Car facility, in the 400 block of US 287 in Elkhart, when a three or four inch gas line was cut.

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office sent out a text message alerting local residents to avoid the area and indicated a voluntary evacuation was in effect.

According B.J. Perry, a supervisor with the City of Elkhart, “… a city crew was working to repair a water line when they accidentally ruptured the gas line next to it.”

Fortunately, a CenterPoint Energy representative was near the location which allowed crews to begin repair work almost immediately and to avoid a potentially devastating occurrence.

Northbound traffic was diverted down Texas Highway 294 towards Slocum, while southbound traffic was diverted to FM 1817.

The Anderson County Office of Emergency Management stated the leak was contained and roadways were reopened at approximately 2:20 p.m.

The Elkhart Volunteer Fire Department, the Slocum Volunteer Fire Department and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the scene to help prevent any catastrophes and to help with traffic flow.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.