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Gas line forces closure of 195th Street Monday

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A few young Farmington athletes had to go home early Monday after a gas leak near Akin Road Elementary School forced fireighters to evacuate one of the school fields.

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According to Farmington fire chief Tim Pietsch, around 5:50 p.m., a contractor working on a fiber line nicked a three-inch gas main on 195th Street between Pilot Knob Road and Akin Road. Farmington police officers at the city's law enforcement center, located across the street from the leak, blocked off the area before firefighters arrived.

"It did affect one ballfield at the school," Pietsch said. "We had to shoo away players and their parents for safety reasons."

The outside area was evacuated and blocked off, but for the most part, nearby homes were not affected. One resident was asked to turn off his gas grill, which he did.

Firefighters called Minnesota Energy Resources to repair the line.

One FFD engine monitored the air quality near the residences in the area. Though the air quality did not necessitate evacuating residents from their homes, firefighters did not want put anyone else in harms' way, so they kept the road blocked off for nearly 2 1/2 hours, until the repairs were complete, he said.

"We kept everybody out of that hot zone. The biggest thing is to maintain that key zone. As long as the gas is venting and nothing is happening, that's a good thing. We just didn't want to ignite anything." Pietsch said.

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Michelle Leonard
Michelle Leonard started covering the Farmington community in June, 1994. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the Farmington American Legion Auxiliary Unit 189, and acts as the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 
(651) 460-6606
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