Section of Marshall in Mattoon evacuated due to gas leak

Ameren Illinois crews repair a severed natural gas line Thursday afternoon at Marshall Avenue and 17th Street in Mattoon.

MATTOON -- A two-block section of Marshall Avenue just east of Lake Land Boulevard was evacuated for about two hours Thursday afternoon due to a natural gas leak.

Shift Capt. Robert Alexander of the Mattoon Fire Department said firefighters were dispatched at 12:35 p.m. to a report of a natural gas line being severed by earth work in the 1700 block of Marshall. Alexander said they evacuated the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Marshall as a precaution due to the heavy odor of natural gas in this area.

Firefighters and police officers closed this section of Marshall to traffic and went door to door in the neighborhood to let residents and businesses know about the evacuation. Dick Butler & Associates Insurance, Midwest America Credit Union, Security Finance and other businesses on the east side of Lake Land, adjacent to Marshall, closed during the evacuation.

Alexander said Ameren Illinois crews arrived at the scene, found the natural gas leak, capped the severed line, and began making repairs.

"We got the all clear. They could all go back to their homes," Alexander said of the evacuation order being lifted.

Register for more free articles.
Stay logged in to skip the surveys.

Engineer Michael Romine with the Mattoon Fire Department said the line break occurred at 17th and Marshall. He said the wind was blowing strong out the west, so firefighters initially focused on evacuating residents west of the leak. He said Ameren Illinois crews then had them expand the evacuation area as a precation.

Ameren Illinois spokeswoman Marcelyn Love said the leak occurred when a contractor performing boring work in the area hit one of the utility company's 2-inch natural gas mains. She said Ameren Illinois crews were able to safely shut off gas to this damaged main and then began making repairs to the line.

Marshall Avenue residents Ira and Robin Hawn and their visiting family members were among those evacuated from the neighborhood. Robin Hawn said they smelled the sulfur-like smell of natural gas in the air as a police officer arrived at their front door and told them that they needed to leave as a precaution.

"It really scared us bad. We all got shook up," Hawn said.

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud



Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

Subscribe to the JG-TC

Reporting like this is brought to you by a staff of experienced local journalists committed to telling the stories of your community.
Support from subscribers is vital to continue our mission.

Become a subscriber

Thank you for subscribing

Your contribution makes local journalism possible.

Load comments