By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Gas leak forces evacuations
Times photo: Brenda Steurer Monroe firemen block Sixth Street at 14th Avenue, redirect traffic and evacuate residents in the area after a broken gas line was reported on 16th Avenue at about 3 p.m. Tuesday.
MONROE - A gas leak around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday led to the evacuation of residents around 16th Avenue and Sixth Street in Monroe.

Fire Chief Daryl Rausch said firefighters were en route to Monroe Glass Company at 14th Avenue and 11th Street when the county dispatcher redirected them to the source of the gas leak on 16th Avenue.

Rausch said an Iowa Grant Trucking backhoe, driven by company president Russ Nelson, hit a 4-inch main gas pipeline, with 150 pounds of pressure per square inch.

The line was marked, and had been located before it was damaged.

The Monroe Fire Department responded with three engines, a ladder truck and two command vehicles. Twenty-eight firefighters worked to evacuate residents and block off 15th and 16th avenues from Sixth to Eighth streets.

Firefighters evacuated residents one block to the north, east, and west and two blocks south of the intersection. Residents were not allowed to take any vehicles.

Rausch said WE Energies had the line shut off about 3:45 p.m.

A resident on his way home said he was allowed to re-enter the area around 4:15 p.m.

Firefighters left the scene at about 5 p.m.

WE Energies employees worked on the line until about 9 p.m. Crews said the fix was permanent and they would be returning Wednesday morning to wrap the pipe with a protective coating.

Sixteenth Avenue is under construction to rebuild the street and replace sanitary and storm sewers, as well as driveways and sidewalks, as needed.