Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Major Gas Leak

Mass Ave blockaded in front of Whitmore Building

Amherst and UMass police have blocked off roads in and around the UMass ROTC building off Commonwealth and Mass Avenue for a large gas leak, while AFD Engine 1 and Engine 4 are pumping water.

 APD closed off Sunset Avenue by Southwest Towers

At 4:00 PM Dispatch toned out for "all AFD personnel report to your stations" as the explosive situation, which was first reported around 1:50 PM, was still not under control.  

AFD Engine 1 laying a water line at Berkshire Gas request near UMass ROTC building 


A large backhoe tries to move the smaller backhoe that hit the gas pipe


UPDATE:  5:30 PM

Many construction workers still on scene

Crisis over.  Whew!

The uncontrolled leak is now shut off but the damaged pipe not fully repaired, so Berkshire Gas customers will be without gas for a while longer.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't know any of the facts regarding this leak, but Dig Safe has been terrible marking out pipes lately.

Anonymous said...

Yea, maybe so, but, the contractor MASS WEST seems a little sketchy. Hammering machines up and down the road, none of the loads are covered.

Adam Sweet said...

My wife is at the chef conference all week. She said that about 300 members were told to evacuate and had to stand around in the hot sun for several hours while they figured out what to do. Nobody knew anything and the cops wouldn't let them go to their cars.

Dr. Ed said...

Adam -- your wife got to see what it is like to be a UMass student.

I understand why they didn't want people going to their cars, but leaving folks "in the hot sun for several hours" without either providing any information or, apparently, any creature comforts, is something they should be called on.

It's also rather stupid if their objective was to secure an emergency situation without things getting even worse...

Yes, you have someone go into heatstroke or (worse) sunstroke (which can happen) and you suddenly have a serious medical emergency that not only requires an entire ambulance crew (temp 108+ is not unheard of) *and* an officer or two because the victim often is hallucinating badly and may be combative.

And then standing around in a situation like this can cause heart attacks, premature labor and all kinds of other stuff that physical and emotional stress can cause.

And your fire guys are kinda busy, so, like, umm, above and beyond everything else, you really aren't looking for extra things for them to have to do right now. Are you?

But the UMPD simply doesn't care and that's how you have what happened to your wife. Welcome to UMass -- welcome to modern education -- I trust you heard about the girl in Minnesota who got frostbite last winter because they made her stand outside, BAREFOOT and ONLY IN A SWIMSUIT, in subZero weather during a fire alarm.

So you pay the extra $200 or so to roll a UMass Transit Bus that is air conditioned (I think) and you put them in that. Or open up an academic building even if you have to hire a janitor on overtime -- or (heaven forbid) call up WalMart and say "this is an emergency and we need to get 300 people out of the sun -- can we bring them down to your (air conditioned) store for a few hours?"

But no, the attitude of the UMPD is "we'll just arrest you if you complain" -- and that's where things like the Barney Blowout start.

Dr. Ed said...

I'm going to say one other thing here: this is what happens when you don't have a "troublemaker" like me complying about stuff.


What UMass has done is silence all critics, pretend all is well, and then OOPS....

Dr. Ed said...

Let me add an addendum here -- for the record, I never made a fuss about a gas pipe at UMass (I did elsewhere) -- there weren't any where I was.

I instead complained about an unsafe steam pipe, inadequate lighting, no secondary means of egress, drain lines not on the digsafe, and then a drain "found" by a contractor, etc.

The competent people never made a fuss -- it was the incompetent folk who did, and who will here.

I was once concerned that a water main, uncovered due to construction and left for the weekend would freeze & burst -- which it did. And I don't believe you are allowed to have a hydrant on a ~50' stub because that gives you a stagnant water pocket where bacteria can grow and hence you don't want the main extending beyond the last user.

But they put it there anyway. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

In response to Anon 8:42 PM - I just want to clear something up about DigSafe services. DigSafe itself does not send a guy out to mark the pipes, they contact the utility companies that have utilities in the area and the individual utility companies each send someone out to mark their respective pipes. So, if we never get a dig notice from DigSafe then we never go and mark any pipes because as far as we know there is no digging going on.

I have also experienced several times where a contractor will submit a dig request and will start digging the same day. They are required to submit all dig requests 72 hours before they begin to dig to allow all the utility companies to mark their lines.

I have also been driving though campus and have seen big excavators digging holes without ever submitting a DigSafe request and have had to run over to them and tell them to stop because they're about to dig up my line.

DigSafe is a great service but it only works if every one uses it correctly.

As for this particular dig - I know that I got a notice but since I don't work for the gas company this isn't on me.

Anonymous said...

Attaboy Ed, your as fucked up as usual, thanks for the entertainment portion of this blog. How can someone with so much education be such a simple minded idiot? Explains the mental illness, I presume.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:44, I stand corrected.

Dr. Ed said...

In response to Anon 8:42 PM - I just want to clear something up about DigSafe services. DigSafe itself does not send a guy out to mark the pipes, they contact the utility companies that have utilities in the area and the individual utility companies each send someone out to mark their respective pipes.

Not exactly. Practice is (or was) to hire a company known as "Target" to mark them for them.
Red -- electric
Orange -- Telco & CATV
Yellow -- gas
Green -- drains & sewers
Blue -- water
White -- area to be marked & requester

I have also been driving though campus and have seen big excavators digging holes without ever submitting a DigSafe request and have had to run over to them and tell them to stop because they're about to dig up my line.

Like with many things, UMass policy is to totally ignore the law and do whatever it damn well pleases.

UMass does its OWN digsafes!

Seriously, the UM Physical Plant does them -- the rationale being that as it's all their own stuff, they best know where it all is.

That once was true. All electricity was generated by the steam plant, which was an "island." Heat was steam, and all TELCO was UM PBX.

That was before they went to gas in the dining commons, to heat any building not on a steam line, chem labs, and (maybe) for some emergency generators. That was before the 3-phase 13,600 volt connections to WMECO -- there used to be four -- and the move to put power lines underground. That was before Ericcson -- when what's now Verizon ran both the BPX and trunk and hence knew where everything was. That was before the internet and it's connection lines going to Charleton.

What I knew -- and was quite vocal about was the increasing number of things underground that WEREN'T UMass' -- and let us not forget that in the course of digging for the Mullins Center, the contractor "found" one of these 13,600 volt 3-wire WMECO circuits. Allegedly the backhoe operator was drunk -- whatever -- I was asking questions people didn't want asked.

In a word: "troublemaker."

My issue was UMass being "above the law" -- and if that's a definition of "mental illness" than it shows what a fraud that whole field actually is.

My suspicion -- that gas line wasn't marked. Larry - did you see yellow spray paint on the pavement that wasn't dug up?

Dr. Ed said...

I will go further -- UMass lets contractors run wild and do all kinds of truly stupid things.

I made an issue of specific things they were doing in Lincoln Apartments -- and THAT is why UMass tried to destroy me in 2009.

Nothing quite as serious as a punctured gas main, but serious environmental violations, lead paint violations, structural integrity issues involving staircases, lack of emergency egress from buildings, lighting, and steam lines come to mind.

I will never forget the email where one truly Delta Charlie from Housing stated "Ed has pretty much hit the nail on the head" in my summary of how seriously screwed up one particular mess was -- and then demanded that the university silence me.

Calling me "fucked up" is the asinine response of those who know how truly "fucked up" they and what they are doing truly is.

And as I've been physically assaulted by the same people -- well -- now you almost had one really big bang. Good job...