Tremendous response to natural gas outage; Quick action from SEMCO crews, community, restores service

ON THE SCENE–At mid-day Friday SEMCO crews were well into the task of replacing pipes and facilities at the L’Anse ‘gate station’ that was damaged and exploded following a vehicle collision early Friday.


by Barry Drue
and Nancy Besonen
An efficient, dedicated response to a natural gas outage across the Village of L’Anse prevented a heating emergency over the Christmas weekend. Dozens of SEMCO maintenance people were called in just hours after a motorist slammed into the natural gas gate station on U.S. 41 across from Erickson True Value. A ball of flame erupted with the 3:40 a.m. accident last Friday morning, Dec. 23, 2016. The L’Anse Volunteer Fire Department responded, training a steady flow of water onto pipes near the shutoff valve to help keep them cool while waiting for gas company personnel to arrive. “The flames got as high as 50-60 feet,” said L’Anse Fire Chief Mike Bianco. “We were cooling pipes around the shutoff valve, about 30-40 feet away. You didn’t know what was going to happen. We didn’t know if you’d get an explosion.” Bianco said the gas was shut off and the flames shut down without further incident, and that the fire department was on the scene for a total of about three hours. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.