Pecan Grove gas leak prompts shelter in place

RICHMOND, TX (KTRK) -- A construction crew's mistake caused a natural gas leak in Pecan Grove neighborhood Thursday evening.

We're told the crew was digging to lay a phone line and hit the gas line, sending natural gas into the air, and residents looking for cover.

"It's just an overwhelming smell," says Natalie Kidd.

The smell from the natural gas leak down the street from Kidd's house greeted her as soon as she got out of the car.

"It was just very unanticipated," she says.

She had planned to come home and doing some work. But the gas leak changed that.

"We're going to go out to eat, but we've got pets. So we're going to take our pets with us as well."

Richard Gonzalez has lived on Cooling Breeze for 30 years.

"It's strong, but he did the little meter," Gonzalez says. "He went all through the house and it didn't register. So for some reason, you get the smell but not the gas."

Pecan Grove Fire Chief Joe Woolley says that's normal with a gas leak.

"Natural gas is lighter than air, so it goes up and away, but the odor they put in it, Mercaptan stays low to the ground and it can give you a headache, nausea, and things like that," Chief Woolley tells us.

Firefighters stayed at the scene just in case the gas ignited and started a fire. They also went door to door encouraging people to shelter-in-place, or stay inside until the line was fixed. CenterPoint Energy cleared them, calling the area danger-free around 8:30pm.

The crew that caused this was doing a job for Comcast. One worker told us they didn't realize immediately that something was wrong.

This leak may have been a blessing in disguise for Richard Gonzalez. While checking his house, CenterPoint found a gas leak in his water heater.

"At least I found out I had a leak in my gas. So I'm going to have that repaired. Otherwise it was hectic," he said.

No gas related injuries or illnesses were reported.
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