Aspen gas leak forces evacuation
October 11, 2007
ASPEN ” Emergency personnel had to evacuate several buildings and close traffic along Monarch Street on Wednesday morning, when a demolition project went awry and broke open a small gas line at a building that once housed the La Cocina restaurant.
There were no reports of injuries.
Demolition workers were attempting to remove the roof with a crane when, around 10:45 a.m., a section of the roof hit another part of the building and slipped free, crashing down on a gas meter and rupturing the line, according to police and fire officers at the scene.
The restaurant, which operated briefly as La Comida after La Cocina closed, is located on Hopkins Avenue, around the corner from Monarch Street.
Aspen Fire Chief Darryl Grob said the gas to the building had been shut off, as had electric power, but that the line leading to the meter from a gas main under Hopkins Avenue was still live.
He said firefighters went “door-to-door” to adjacent buildings, evacuating the occupants and using a gas monitoring device to check for fumes, but found nothing amiss.
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Assistant Fire Chief Orrin Moon said the gas line was a relatively small one that did not flare up, and that while the gas permeated the La Cocina demolition site, it did not spread into nearby areas before the line was sealed by workers from SourceGas.
Moon said firefighters hosed down the site with water and suppressing fog to protect a crane operator as the cover was lifted off the damaged meter. Grob said the gas company was expected to be at work checking for gas pockets and other potential trouble spots “for a couple of hours” after the fire crews left the scene.