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Crew ruptures gas line; residents evacuate

By Dale Rodebaugh Herald staff writer

A crew drilling holes for deck pilings struck a gas line Tuesday morning, forcing a 45-minute evacuation of a half-dozen residences around Songbird Lane just northeast of Durango.

No injuries were reported.

Sam DuCharme with Durango Decks had just begun drilling the last of nine holes for a deck at 48 Songbird Lane when his auger bit hit an Atmos Energy gas line.

DuCharme said, “I started to drill this morning and, in about three seconds, I was sprayed with water.

“Then I smelled gas,” DuCharme said. “Oh, gosh, it’s an emergency.”

Durango Decks was working behind the home of Bruce Moss, owner of Gateway Reservations.

“We tore out the old deck because it had rotted out,” Moss said as he watched Durango Fire & Rescue Authority and Atmos Energy crews go about their tasks. “We demo-ed it Saturday, and they began drilling for pilings (Monday).”

Songbird Lane is off Timberline Drive, which is accessed through Florida Road. It is just outside Durango city limits, although the homes in the area, known as Timberline Estates, use city water and sewer.

The evacuation idled seven members of a construction team building a foundation for a house in the 80-lot Timberline Estates subdivision. They chatted as they took in the morning sun at the corner of Timberline Drive and Songbird Lane.

On the opposite corner of Songbird Lane, Catherine Gervais was on a conference call, which was interrupted when she was evacuated.

“I had just started when I had to leave,” said Gervais, who was sitting with Buster, a Boston terrier, and Diego, a Chihuahua.

Atmos Energy spokesman Brian Martens said a 2-inch gas line was ruptured. Six customers lost service, which was expected to be restored Tuesday afternoon.


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