A portion of Federal Road near Del Mar Drive currently was closed briefly Wednesday morning after road crews accidentally struck a gas line. Yankee Gas was called to the scene to turn off the ruptured line and gas company employees were still on scene Wednesday afternoon remedying the problem.
According to accounts, the service line that delivers natural gas to 332 Federal Road was struck and ruptured around 8:21 a.m., leaking into the air and causing a potential emergency situation in the area.
Yankee Gas received the call from the contractors at 8:22 a.m., according to company spokesman Ashley Duncan, and was on the scene within 10 minutes to shut down the line to the building. The ruptured line had to be cut off for the time being, however the incident did not affect service to other Yankee Gas customers along the main line.
Yankee Gas marked off their underground infrastructure before the project began, per state regulations, Duncan said, however “sometimes service lines or main lines are hit” and have to be shut down before causing a true emergency. The company was able to respond quickly and the area was deemed safe in less than an hour.
The company working on scene at the time of the incident, Earthmovers, Inc. out of Danbury, declined to comment Wednesday morning.
Police cordoned off Old New Milford Road and the parallel section of Federal Road until shortly after 9:15 a.m., diverting traffic down Route 133 to the north and turning cars away at the southern end where Old New Milford and Federal Road meet.
“Due to the heavy volume of traffic and limited staff available, and the fact that this was an emergency event, there wasn’t time to set up formal notification posts to redirect traffic,” Brookfield police Maj. James Purcell said. Purcell apologized for “any delays and missed appointments” caused by the hour-long road closure.
Rick Van Akin, owner of at 355 Federal Road, said he left his office around 8:30 to get some breakfast, expecting to travel northbound first due to the construction before turning around on Old New Milford Road to head south. However, Akin found both roads closed and police turning vehicles away.
Akin got out of his car and decided to try to walk it, however officers wouldn’t let him get past (331 Federal Road), just across the road from the incident, and he could smell the distinct odor of gas in the air.
“That’s exactly what we want to happen,” Duncan said, explaining that the company adds an artificial odor to the natural gas as a means of detecting leaks and relies on alert citizens to notify them of potential problems.
Duncan said the gas company is currently coordinating with the property owner to fix the line and restore service to the building.