Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gas Leak

It’s strange when you think of it, but at any given moment, if you rely on natural gas to heat your home, you’re in risk of a huge explosion. It’s always in the back of our minds: carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks and matches, gas leaks and fireplaces, etc., etc., etc… Natural gas is odorless, however there is a chemical called mercaptan that they add to it so we can smell it and detect if there is a problem. It almost smells like rotten eggs.

Yesterday I was driving back home from going shopping. I had just packed up my car with tons of groceries and a huge box of those 5 hour burning fire logs. I was planning to come home, make a roaring fire and cook dinner for Madelene. As I’m driving on the last road to get to my place, there was a construction crew working on the ditches. Once I passed them, I was engulfed with an overwhelming smell of ‘rotten eggs’. This smell trekked all the way up my complex. I swung my vehicle around and drove over to where Madelene works and called the gas company right away.

About 30 minutes later, I headed back home. As I was lugging the groceries up the stairs, I hear someone banging on my neighbor’s door screaming out her name. He looked at me and said, “Smith? Are you Smith?” (Of course not the real name, bear with me.) He had the utility gas company jacket on and walking around with one of those little gas detector meters. The entire place still smelled a little. “No, I’m not Smith, but I did call it in because I smelled gas all over the complex.” He said that the construction crew knew for 4 hours that there was a 5 inch leak blowing out of the pipe which they were trying to contain. The construction crew didn’t call it in because they would have gotten themselves into a heap of trouble. It affected much of the surrounding area.

I dumped my groceries into the fridge and left to go stay at my mom’s place for a few hours until it cleared out. As I’m walking out, he asked me my name and then told me I was the first one to call it in. Did anyone NOT smell this leak? I mean, as soon as I passed the site and went into the complex, the entire area was engulfed with this smell. Are people’s sense of smell completely gone??? He looks at me and says, “Well, if you’re going to stay here, make sure you don’t turn on any electrical switches or light a fire.”

I quickly walked over to the ladies standing near the mailboxes and told them what was going on so they can take whatever measures to get the hell out of there. When somebody tells me not to turn on a damn switch in my house, to me all I hear is: THAR SHE BLOWS!

I’m outa’ there.

After spending a few hours with mom, I went to go pick up Madelene from work and we saw a night crew working on the cracked pipe. They lit that area up like Yankee stadium. I called into the gas company again to check the status and they reported that it was under control. I did get to make my dinner and with tons of anxiety, I lit a roaring fire in the fireplace.