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Monday gas leak caused by line severed as resident dug new basement

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Firefighters blocked off a section of North Fountain Street Monday after evacuating a two-block area while a gas leak was repaired.
(Matt Sanders)
A severed gas line that forced evacuation Monday of two blocks of North Fountain Street was cut as Alfred Farrar and his brother were trying to gauge how deep to dig the basement for his new home.

Farrar successfully petitioned the Cape Girardeau City Council in April to allow him to replace a dilapidated home at 804 N. Fountain St. with a manufactured home. The old home is gone; Farrar and his brother were doing site work to prepare the property for the new home when they hit the gas


Reached at the construction site Tuesday, Farrar said he had used the Missouri One Call System to have the utility lines marked, but that rains or neighborhood children may have removed or altered the markers.

Farrar said his brother was operating a backhoe when the line was severed. A block of Fountain Street on either side of the home site at Pearl and Fountain streets were evacuated.

"We were trying to find the sewer line to find out how deep to go with the basement," Farrar said.

But John Lansford, executive director of Missouri One Call said a check of his records showed no request from Farrar to have the lines marked. He said, however, that he would have to do a more extensive search to be sure. Missouri law requires anyone excavating their property to call. Utility companies are notified to mark the locations of their buried lines.

Jean Mason, manager of AmerenUE's office in Cape Girardeau, said she also could find no records that the gas lines had been marked. If Farrar severed the line and did not call, she said, Ameren will seek to recover the costs of the crew that spent about two hours on the site repairing the line, she said.

"If a customer causes the damages, we go through our claims process," she said.

The severed line was a 2-inch diameter plastic pipe. While it served as a main line for the neighborhood, Mason said no service was lost when the pipe was ruptured.

There were no injuries due to the evacuation and everyone who was asked to leave did so quietly, said battalion chief Steve Niswonger of the Cape Girardeau Fire


No date has been set for delivery of the manufactured home for the site, Farrar said.



Pertinent address: 804 N. Fountain St.

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Dang! Now they'll try to crucify this poor guy.

-- Posted by Megalomania on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 1:35 AM

Sounds like he brought his own nails and wood to me.

-- Posted by Solelicious on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 9:01 AM

no records- means he lied.

oh what a tangled web.....

-- Posted by Skeptic1 on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 12:11 PM

he lives around the coner from me and i'v never seen anyone mark anything. And him and his friends make it hard for me to get home becuase they block peal street with their trucks! then look at you like your crazy when you ask them to move. this gave me my laugh for that day!

-- Posted by itsmethemoneyman on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 1:01 PM

Sounds like they have the depth for their new basement.

When I was a kid I remember the move the utility marker game. Looks like these young kids today still play it.

-- Posted by gman on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 4:39 PM

I see an opportunity here for someone to come up with a water resistant paint so they can mark lines. Wonder why no one has ever thought of this?

-- Posted by gman on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 4:42 PM

no kids had nothing to do with it... theyhave a skate park right down the street. The man just need to be careful and still today their are blocking the street with there trucks.... when the street is as wide as their trucks...i hope he has to pay for it all. DONT blam kids for a grown mans mistake or the paint and plus they dont have records of him calling...its all on him

-- Posted by itsmethemoneyman on Thu, May 7, 2009, at 12:54 PM

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