Gas line rupture closes schools in Camp County

Gas line rupture closes schools in Camp County

CAMP COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A natural gas line rupture forced a half dozen schools to cancel classes, and businesses to sit idle, in one East Texas county.

The Camp County Emergency Management Coordinator said a construction company was digging up part of a gas line along County Road 4114, north of Pittsburg, when the pipeline ruptured. Part of Pittsburg, all of Talco , Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon and Winfield were without natural gas as a result. No evacuations were necessary, but the incident had a major effect on area businesses and schools, forcing six school districts to cancel classes.

Tuesday afternoon, workers on County Road 4114 were doing repairs on a section of 8-inch gas pipeline when it ruptured. 

"An 8 inch pipeline had ruptured out in the northeast part of the county by the hospital," says Constable John Cortelyou, who's also the county emergency management coordinator. The rupture effected businesses almost immediately.

"It fed a lot of homes, it fed a lot of industry. One business I talked to this morning, they had 115 people standing around, no production," Cortelyou says.

But Cortelyou says there was a close call, a stroke of luck that may have prevented people from being seriously injured.

A track-hoe was used to dig up the section, but did not initially rupture the line.

"They had already unearthed this pipeline, they dug it out. They came out of the hole, holding a safety meeting, when the line actually ruptured. This was just a rupture of a pipeline where they were getting ready to repair it," the coordinator says.

School districts in Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, Winfield, Harts Bluff, Talco and Chapel Hill in Titus county all cancelled classes, with no ability to heat classrooms or cook meals.

It could take time to fix. The line has to be purged of air at each customer location.

"They have to go to each business, to homes and bleed the air out of the lines," Cortelyou says.

According to school officials, Mount Pleasant ISD, Winfield ISD, Chapel Hill ISD, and Harts Bluff ISD will have their regularly scheduled classes on Thursday.

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