Fire official: gym member caused gas leak
Makayla Silva, Staff Writer
Published: 03:02 p.m., Tuesday, September 7, 2010SEYMOUR ---- A gas leak that closed a portion of Route 67 Tuesday morning was caused by a member of a gym who was flipping tires outside the building for exercise, a fire official said.
According to Fire Marshal Paul Wetowitz, a member of the Peak Fitness Center was flipping tires outside the building when they accidently punctured a gas meter. He said the fire department responded at 5:38 a.m. after receiving a call from the gym located in the Klarides Village shopping center on Route 67.
After shutting off the gas, the fire department measured the gas content in the surrounding area and inside Peak Fitness before deeming the location as safe.
Wetowitz said the number of evacuations was minimal, with only four or five members exercising in the gym at that time.
"Natural gas floats up," he said. "If it was propane it would have been a different story. We would have had more of a potential issue."
Still, Route 67 was blocked off for about 45 minutes to an hour between Church Street and West Street, according to Wetowitz.
Yankee Gas Company, was called by the Seymour Fire Department and arrived at Klarides Village to verify the location of the leak and check the area with its own air meters.
Yankee Gas must respond to all calls during the week within 30 minutes, according to Karen Samide, a company spokesperson. "We always want to be called because we put safety first," she said. "Even if it's a skunk. It's better to call than not call."
Samide said Yankee Gas must survey the area with gas indicators and depending on what they find, will act accordingly with public safety officials.
"We either make repairs to the gas leak or we allow people into the area if it's safe," she said, adding that they would not leave any area until the leak is repaired.
Wetowitz said additional traffic problems on Route 67 were caused by a truck that took down wires and a telephone poll near 38 New Haven Road.
"Wires were laying across the road and Route 67 was blocked off for an hour and a half to two hours," he said.
Traffic finally cleared around 9 a.m., and a plumber was called to repair the broken gas pipe, according to Wetowitz.
"They should think about relocating the area where they flip tires to another place," he said.
Despite repeated attempts, the manager of Peak Fitness was unavailable for comment.