• Gas line ruptures behind FD Municipal Building

    Messenger News

    Fort Dodge, Iowa.

    A powerful smell of natural gas greeted anyone who passed by the Fort Dodge Municipal Building Tuesday afternoon.

    The source of the odor was a broken gas line in an alley behind the building at 819 First Ave. S.

    Fire Department Capt. Mitch Sells said a 3-inch diameter gas line was broken, apparently by a backhoe, as crews from R & G Electric of Humboldt were working on an underground electrical line.

    No evacuations were necessary. Sells said firefighters monitored the air quality in the Municipal Building and Tracey's Tots Daycare & Preschool at 109 S. Eighth St.

    ''Gas is blowing,'' Tina Potthoff, a spokeswoman for MidAmerican Energy, said late Tuesday afternoon.

    She said the necessary repairs would be made by the end of the day Tuesday. Gas service to the Municipal Building would have to be shut off briefly so that repairs to the line could be made, she added.

    The incident was reported at 2:20 p.m. City police and firefighters were on the scene with MidAmerican Energy personnel.

    The ruptured gas line was beneath the alley that runs east and west behind the Municipal Building and the day care. The electrical contractors had dug a trench that cut diagonally across that alley. Sells said the locations of the various underground utilities had been marked with paint on the pavement before construction began.

    The work being done in the alley Tuesday is part of a Municipal Building improvement project, according to City Manager David Fierke. Installing a new electrical service connection to the building is a component of the $618,000 effort. Other elements of it include replacing the boiler, repairing the concrete floor in the boiler room and installing a new ventilation system. Last month, the City Council hired Kolacia Construction of Fort Dodge to be the general contractor on the job.

    Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141