Shortly before 11:00 am today, the Keene Fire Department responded to the
area of 40 Russell Street for a reported gas leak involving the Liberty Utilities
underground distribution system.
Car 3, Engines 2 and 3, Ladder 1 and Car 1 responded on the first alarm assignment. On
arrival on scene fire crews met with Liberty Utilities personnel who reported they were
getting gas readings in the street and the storm drain system. A second alarm was
requested at 1056 hours for additional resources to assist with monitoring of the homes
and street for gas levels. Keene Rescue 1, Tanker 1 along with mutual aid crews
Fire crews immediately started to check storm and sewer manholes for gas levels and
detected gas readings in approximately half dozen manholes between McKinley and
Roosevelt Streets on Russell Street. Crews also were assigned to check the basements of
homes for readings in the immediate area. NO gas readings were detected in the homes
throughout the incident.
SAU 29 Office was contacted and made aware of the situation due to Symonds
Elementary School being within two blocks of the incident. The School continued normal
operations as instructed and did not have to evacuate. The occupants of the homes in
immediate area of the incident were not home, other homes in the area were instructed to
shelter in place and did not have to evacuate.
Liberty Utilities was able to locate and stop the leak form the 4” gas line at 1343 hours.
At that time the incident was declared under control and we started to release fire crews.
By 1430 hours all fire crews had cleared the scene.
I want to thank all agencies involved for their professionalism, coordination and effective
response to this incident. Agencies involved included: Liberty Utilities, Keene Police,
Keene Public Works, Keene Police, Keene IT Dept, SAU 29 and Symonds School Staff.
The Brattleboro Vermont Fire Department and Swanzey Fire Departments also assisted
on scene while fire units from Chesterfield, Spofford, Peterborough and Walpole
provided coverage during the response.