Engine 31 was dispatched on a local alarm for a gas leak outside a commercial building at the Festival Shopping Center. Upon arrival, Engine 31 found a 2 inch gas main that was ruptured by a backhoe. As Engine 31 was advising Communications of the situation, numerous calls to 911 were being received for odors of gas inside several stores in the shopping center. Due to the amount of gas leaking and high winds spreading it into the stores, Engine 31 requested the assignment to be filled for the gas leak inside a commercial building bringing an additional engine and 2 special services.
Engine 31 established the Festival Way Command and began coordinating the arrival of the responding units. Chief 3B arrived on scene and met with Engine 31 before assuming Command. Units were assigned to various stores to perform air monitoring with gas meters. 5 stores in the shopping center were evacuated due to high gas levels.
Washington Gas arrived on scene and began working to cutoff the main valve to the shopping center. While units were operating on this scene, another response was dispatched for 3070 Crain Highway (across the street) for the gas leak inside a commercial building with reported subjects sick. Rescue Engine 840 and Tower 840 were rerouted from Festival along with additional EMS units to investigate. Units on scene determined the gas leak was from the origianl incident at Festival Way. The EMS units on scene obtained serveral signed releases.
The incident at Festival Way was placed under control approximately 2 hours from initial dispatch. Once Washington Gas secured the leak, units worked to ventilate the stores until the gas readings returned to zero. Command was terminated and all units returned to service.
Special thanks to the Men in Black on La Plata Engine 11 for filling-in at Fire 3. While there, Engine 11 ran an additional call for a mulch fire in the Sheffield Neighborhood.
Engine 31, Engine 32, Rescue Squad 3, Engine 121, Paramedic Ambulance 38 and Chief 3B.
Mutual Aid Units:
PG County Rescue Engine 840 and Tower 824.
La Plata Engine 11 at Fire 3.