LADD — Ladd firefighters evacuated a factory and closed Route 89 on the north edge of town Monday because of a leak in a large natural gas main.
Just after 8 a.m., the leak could be heard by passersby on Route 89 just north of Tee Group Films, but the noise from that was nothing compared to the din of a pipe that was opened for venting north of Peru between Plank and Meridian roads just before midday.
“It sounds like a jet airplane taking off,” said Kurt Kassabaum, who works on the north side of Peru.
Ladd fire chief B.J. Liebe said the department was called about a natural gas odor. When they went to investigate, they could hear a whistling noise or something like boiling water, Liebe said. The sound from the leak in the buried main was muted by the ground.
“That’s a 36-inch diameter pipeline, so it’s carrying upward of 700 pounds of pressure,” Liebe said.
He said all that pressure is why the venting north ofPeruwas so loud.
“They say they can hear it all the way down by Jeff Perry,” Liebe said, referring to a car dealership 2-3 miles away.
The venting was a relatively slow, even though the gas was coming out like a geyser.
“It’s going to take awhile,” Liebe said from a fire truck blocking Route 89 on the north end of the downtown. “They’ve got to drain about 11 miles of the line.”
Route 89 was being reopened at 12:45 p.m.
Cherry firefighters also assisted at the scene.
In addition to Tee Group Films, a house north of the leak was evacuated.
Ladd police chief Bill Gaefcke was blocking traffic from using Meridian Road east of Ladd and just east of the Ladd Road turnoff fromPlank Road.
Emergency personnel contacted Nicor (now known as AGL), and were told to contact Kinder-Morgan, the interstate pipeline owner.
Route 89 reopened at about 12:45 p.m., and Tee Group Films employees were allowed to return to work (see sidebar).
Craig Sterrett can be reached at (815) 220-6935 or email@example.com.