New Castle News

TOP STORIES

November 9, 2013

Photos, Story: North Hill gas line rupture forces evacuations

NEW CASTLE — Contractors knocked on Billie Jean and Tom Cioffi’s door yesterday and said they were installing a gas meter.

“And then, boom,” Billie Jean Cioffi said, describing how the workers had broken a four-inch natural gas main in front of their house at 1907 Delaware Ave.

The break occurred around 9:20 a.m. when workers were digging under the sidewalk.

A Columbia Gas worker said a third-party contractor was installing a service line to a house.

A four-block area was closed to traffic and Sarah Perry, Columbia Gas communications specialist, said about a dozen homes in the 1900 block of Delaware Avenue were evacuated.

Some residents grabbed their children and dogs and ran out of their homes. Others left their pets behind.

The roaring sound of gas could be heard from more than a block away. Firetrucks, police cars and ambulances blocked off the area at intersections.

Sherri Libengood of 1911 Delaware Ave. held her barefoot, year-old son who was wearing nothing but a shirt and a diaper. Her 2-year-old daughter was in pajamas and barefoot. When firefighters knocked on Libengood’s door, she grabbed the children and quickly left, she said, leaving two dogs inside the house.

The Cioffis had hired a woman to do work at their house. She was being paid “and now she was thrown out too,” said Billie Jean Cioffi, who had joined a group of neighbors about a half-block away from the dig site.

Among them was Jeff Burns, who lives at 1911 Delaware Ave.

“We were in the house and we heard a big noise and it was spraying,” he said. “You could smell the gas. Now they’re warning people on the block.”

New Castle policeman Chris Fabian was standing watch from an intersection near the affected area.

“I know they evacuated both sides of Delaware between Hillcrest and Fairmont,” he said around 11 a.m. yesterday. “Now they are out with meters checking houses to determine the gas levels. They still didn’t shut it off yet. I’m two blocks away and I still hear it whistling. It’s a high-flow line for it to be whistling that fast.”

Perry confirmed that a contractor had hit a Columbia Gas Co. line on Delaware Avenue.

“At this time they are focused on keeping the situation safe,” she said.

Dean Masajada of 1905 Delaware Ave. said the gas company has had a contractor working in that neighborhood for the past couple of months.

“They were in front of our house with a Bobcat and they dug up the sidewalk,” he said. “All of a sudden we heard what sounded like a jet engine and my daughter saw one of the gas company guys running from house to house. I could barely hear the guy.”

Masajada and the four other members of his household left with their two dogs and waited in their car down the street. They left their two cats behind in the house.

“We’re still in our cars,” he said around 11:15 a.m.

The gas flow was shut off by noon, Fabian said, and people were allowed back in their homes.

Tentative repairs were made by 2 p.m., the worker said, and permanent repairs were expected to be done by 3 p.m. However, gas service was not expected to be turned on until last night.

(Email: dwachter @ncnewsonline.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Our Opinion: Who’s watching the money in Shenango Township?

    The Shenango Township supervisors have some explaining to do. And that’s putting it mildly.

    July 15, 2014 1 Story

  • Shenango places Tanner on leave, schedules meeting

    The Shenango Township supervisors have placed their secretary/treasurer on leave. In a statement faxed late Monday afternoon to the New Castle News, the supervisors said Brian Tanner had been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of a search warrant served on the township municipal building Friday.

    July 15, 2014

  • DROWN.jpg Local teen drowns in Slippery Rock Creek

    Divers from several fire departments responded yesterday to a drowning in the Kennedy Mill area of Slippery Rock Creek. Reports from the scene indicated that two teenage males from the Ellwood-Wampum area had gone swimming in the creek, and that one had gone under and not resurfaced.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard. Many are speculating that Russian rebels (supported by Vladimir Putin) are responsible for downing the aircraft. What do you think?

Yes. All evidence points that way.
No. Everyone is so quick to point fingers, but there's not enough evidence to support claims of Russian guilt.
I'm not sure. I'll just wait until the investigation is over to make up my mind.
What is up with these Malaysian Airlines planes? I know one airline I won't be flying any time soon...
     View Results