Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis Friday, 05 February 2010 00:00
Thirteen residences on 14th Street between Meyers and Burns avenues were without potable water as well as gas for three days after a fallen power line struck a gas service line box, sending a 14,000-volt electrical charge through the gas service line and back through the gas main, on Sunday afternoon. `
According to water district officials, at around 2 p.m. Jan. 31, a high-voltage tension line fell to the ground and hit a gas valve box, charging the underground gas line before traveling down the street where it came into contact with a water main and shorted out, resulting in a water service line leak. The electric charge from a fallen wire caused a hole in the gas main and the water service line where it crossed, introducing water into the natural gas line.
Members of Hicksville’s Water and Fire departments, along with officials from the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and National Grid were immediately called to the scene. At the onset of the incident, volunteer firefighters were concerned that two nearby homes would ignite, but a fast response by both LIPA and National Grid emergency crews prevented that from happening.
The water district requested bottled water from the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and the Hicksville Fire Department assisted in the effort. Additionally, volunteer firefighters also surveyed residents for special needs.
Nassau Red Cross volunteers arrived on scene to provide assistance to those who may have needed assistance as a result of the cold temperatures and their gas being shut off. Additionally, Red Cross volunteers provided hot beverages, water and snacks to emergency officials and utility crews as they worked in frigid conditions to repair the leak and restore services. Also, temporary shelter and a feeding station were set up at the William P. Bennett Community Center in Hicksville.
National Grid crews worked around the clock and natural gas service to a little over 100 homes was restored by 3 a.m. Tuesday morning following the installation of new gas lines. Water district crews remained on site, working around the clock to purge the system and flush out contaminants found in the water supply. As of 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, water service had been restored to all 13 homes on 14th Street.
Before introducing water back to the homes, the water district, stated Schuckmann, “flushed out all service lines in the meter pits, then installed new water meters to each of the 13 homes. We are continually flushing the water from the neighborhood hydrants.”
Schuckmann commended the efforts of his workers over the course of the four days, stating that crews “worked around the clock to remedy the effects of this unfortunate accident.”
Nicholas J. Brigandi, chairman of the Hicksville Board of Water Commissioners, stated he was grateful to Superintendent Schuckmann and the water district’s crew for the “fine job” they did in restoring potable water to residents. Said Brigandi, “Their hard work during this incident was greatly appreciated …”