The ENSTAR Natural Gas service line that was damaged in Ninilchik Tuesday has been repaired.
According to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch, the incident occurred at roughly 2:30 p.m., near mile 135 of the Sterling Highway, confirmed by ENSTAR Natural Gas Communications Manager Lindsay Hobson.
The dispatch stated a residential gas line had ruptured, but there was no further information retrieved or released by troopers because the accident was not criminal, and warranted no investigation, said Alaska State Troopers Public Information Officer Megan Peters. She said the dispatch served as a notice, and was issued because the leaking gas was a potential public safety issue.
Hobson said a Bobcat had been working around the entrance of the Ninilchik State Recreation Area and struck the service line. The Ninilchik Fire Department and state troopers were notified, the fire department responded to the scene, and ENSTAR was notified of the line break by the troopers, she said.
“A service line serves a single building whereas a main line impacts many buildings,” Hobson said.
Initially it had been reported that a main line had been struck, “which would have been a very different scenario,” but since it was a service line it was a small break, Hobson said. ENSTAR finished the repairs Tuesday afternoon, she said.
Local businesses and the Ninilchik School’s staff and students evacuated Tuesday following the rupture “out of an abundance of caution,” Hobson said. The site of the incident was nearly a quarter-mile away from the school, she said.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff said her initial report that a vehicle had struck the gas line was incorrect, and she issued a statement clarifying the error on the school district’s various social media websites Wednesday. The rest of the information issued to parents and students about the evacuation to the Ninilchik Fairgrounds was entirely accurate, she said.
Recorded messages were sent out to parents’ phones to inform them of the incident as soon as the school district was notified, Erkeneff said. The evacuation went smoothly, and all students and staff were accounted for by the end of the day, she said.
“The line was fully repaired less than two hours after being reported to ENSTAR,” Hobson wrote in an email.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.