BELLEVILLE - MetroLink trains were halted and an apartment building evacuated Monday afternoon after a contractor hit a gas line and caused a leak.
The Belleville Fire Department was called to a scene near North Church and Rear Lebanon at approximately 2:45 p.m. on Monday.
“A 2-inch gas line struck by a crew doing some excavation work,” Belleville Fire Department Chief Tom Pour said. “It was free flowing out into the air, so we evacuated some neighboring apartments and a house. We immediately shut down the MetroLink line due to the fact that it was about 25 feet from the flowing gas line.”
MetroLink service in the area was disrupted for approximately an hour. According to a news release from MetroLink, service was restored to the red line around 3:50 p.m. MetroLink passengers using the Memorial Hospital, Swansea, Belleville and College stations were temporarily transported by bus. MetroLink said passengers should expect delays of 15 to 20 minutes. The gas leak is a few blocks from the Scheel Street MetroLink station in Belleville.
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Representatives with Ameren Illinois were on the scene to help fix the leak. Having to temporarily shut down the train tracks was unique, Pour said.
“Quite often they dig in residential areas and a marking might not be correct, but for an incident to be this close with a gas leak being right next to a service that runs on all electric, that’s a different situation,” Pour said.
No one was injured. Several residents in the apartment building were forced to wait out the work while sitting in a neighbor’s front yard.