Evacuate the area

Gas leak near Vernon Avenue and Whitford Street have necessitated evacuations in the area. 

Multiple agencies and emergency personnel from the Fergus Falls police and fire departments are at the scene of a gas leak in the area of Vernon Avenue and Whitford Street in Fergus Falls.

Fire Chief Ryan Muchow said an Arvig crew was in the area doing work earlier today and they hit a gas line underground in the area of Vernon Avenue and Whitford Street, which subsequently allowed gas to enter into nearby storm sewers.

Emergency crews then quickly isolated a two-block perimeter around those roadways. Muchow said they decided to do evacuations as a precaution, with the help of Fergus Falls police, and issued a RAVE mobile alert from Otter Tail County Dispatch that alerted residents in the immediate area that they needed to evacuate. Residents from Vernon and Whitford, and a block in all directions was evacuated Tuesday. Otter Tail Power was also on site and isolated the power to homes in the area. 

Currently, Vernon Avenue and Cascade Street are still blocked to any traffic. Great Plains Natural Gas has been on site with their staff to dig up where the leak is, and eventually to try to completely shut it down.

“The gas is still flowing, but the pressure has been reduced. We’ve been ventilating the storm sewer, so it’s isolated now to the intersection of Vernon and Whitford,” said Muchow.

Muchow also advised motorists to avoid the area so emergency workers can mitigate the situation and thanked residents for their cooperation. Muchow also said unless they can find a remote valve it will be several hours before the gas is completely turned off, or evacuated residents will be allowed back into their homes and also before Vernon Avenue would be open again at that segment. 

Developing story. More to Follow.


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