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Crews cope with leak after car hits gas meter, building
Ameren Missouri crews were working to seal a strong gas leak Saturday night after a driver crashed into a downtown Cape Girardeau building and its nearby meter.
With some degree of risk involved, one Ameren employee wore full protective gear and an oxygen supply as he sawed into the Middle Street gas meter. Work was done under the watchful eye of fire officials, who dispatched at least four fire trucks to cordon off the block.
"Any time you're cutting and have gas on, it's a risk," said Brad Dillow, a battalion chief with the fire department. "The gas should be too rich to burn right there, but any time you find the right ignition source it will burn."
The car and its three occupants -- including an 8-year-old -- hit the building mid-block between Broadway and Independence Street at about 7 p.m., according to Cape Girardeau police Sgt. Rodney Barker. Ambulances were sent to the scene, he said, but medical treatment was refused.
Authorities said the car hit the building after it left the parking lot of Trinity Lutheran Church and hit a curb, which apparently caused the driver to accidentally hit the accelerator.
A meter adjacent to the building was sheared off the ground, Dillow said. Ameren initially was unable to get the leak stopped and was attempting to cut away remnants of the meter to find source of the leak.
By about 9:30 p.m. the leak looked to be largely sealed, Dillow said, though Ameren still was troubleshooting a slight gas reading. The vehicle also had been removed.