Fire, gas leak closes Dallas streets

A fire and gas leak triggered evacuations around the area of Main and Ash streets on Feb. 28.

A fire and gas leak triggered evacuations around the area of Main and Ash streets on Feb. 28.

DALLAS — An incident Feb. 28 at Main and Ash streets was an emergency trifecta: fire, power outage, and a gas leak.

Minutes after the power went out at about 4:30 p.m. in the Dallas neighborhood near the Dallas School District Office on Ash Street, reports of a power pole on fire started pouring in.

It wasn’t just the pole on fire, but gas from a leaking line.

According to Dallas Fire & EMS, a transformer blew, and a gas line ruptured and fed the fire. Fire and police personnel closed several streets around the fire and evacuated 10 homes on Southwest Ash and Southeast Ash, one block on both sides of Main Street.

It wasn’t initially apparent to firefighters what came first, the transformer failure or the gas leak.

“We’re waiting for NW Natural to arrive to shut down the gas line to investigate what happened,” said Dallas Fire spokeswoman April Welsh from the scene as the fire burned.

Fire personnel monitored the fire and occasionally doused it until NW Natural turned off the gas.

Crews put out the fire at about 7:30 p.m. NW Natural stayed on scene until the gas dissipated and inspected the lines to homes before allowing evacuated residents to return to their houses.

Power was restored after a Pacific Power crew assessed the pole for damage and safety.

According to Dallas Police, the pole was deemed “safe for now,” and will be replaced later.

Friday, NW Natural spokeswoman Stephanie Week said the transformer failure caused damage to the line, resulting in the fire. An investigation by Pacific Power found that the initial problem was caused by a squirrel, Welsh said.

Coincidentally, another gas leak closed streets in downtown Monmouth Friday as NW Natural crews shut off the gas and repaired the line.

Week said that incident was the result of a contractor accidentally hitting and damaging the line at 310 Main St. E. Roadways closed included Main Street between the intersections of Knox and Ecols streets and Broad Street between Clay and Jackson streets.

“We apologize for any inconvenience that this week’s incidents caused, and we thank the local emergency officials for their assistance,” Week said.

She said the incidents are a good reminder that people should report if they smell natural gas, which has a rotten egg odor.

If you suspect a leak, call NW Natural’s 24-hour emergency line at 800-882-3377 and leave the area.


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