Residents Fear Gas Line Burst Not The Last - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/5/04-Rusk County

Residents Fear Gas Line Burst Not The Last

"I was in bed asleep it sounded like a thousand jets going over the house," says Larry Fredrickson who lives down the road from the busted gas line.

Whether described as an aircraft, thunder or a loud explosion, nearby residents in Joinerville and Henderson say they heard it loud and clear. Lori Miller says the loud boom wasn't the only thing that startled her. "There's gas lines everywhere. One time this maintenance (crew) was doing something here on the highway and they cut a line."

East and westbound traffic was put to a standstill so the contractor, Donnie Graham, who accidentally struck the gas line, could be airlifted to the Trinity Mother Francis in Tyler. Graham suffered from head trauma and took some shrapnel to the face. Officials expect him to make a full recovery, but some say this incident wouldn't have happened if the gas lines were clearly marked. "Even the ambulances and everybody was up here on the highway not knowing which way to go or how to get in," says Miller.

The valve to gas leak had to be turned off turned off manually to stop the leak. It's not enough consolation for those whose lives could be in danger next time. "Gas is pretty dangerous. You light up a match up when there's a lot of it on the ground, it'll go up," says Fredrickson.

Christine Nelson reporting.

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