The gas leak in Clarendon that caused several buildings to evacuate last weekend was caused by unauthorized construction, ARLnow.com has learned.
Interior construction on the small, vacant space of 3127 Wilson Blvd caused the gas leak, and Arlington County’s department of Community Planning, Housing and Development said they have not approved any permits for work, and ordered the work to stop after the gas leak.
“On Saturday, our Building Inspector issued a notice of violation on the business and posted a stop work order,” CPHD spokeswoman Helen Duong said. “The business was doing major renovation without a permit.”
The small space, next door to Goody’s pizza shop, is owned by Tara Sharma, who also owns Classic Cigars & British Goodies (2907 Wilson Blvd). Sharma, who bought the space two months ago, said he doesn’t know what he plans to put into the space — except it won’t be a restaurant, coffee shop or ice cream store — but plans to make a decision in the next few weeks.
Sharma told ARLnow.com today that Washington Gas, which owns the gas line and the right-of-way for construction work, turned off the gas meter in the space at his request because “we don’t need the gas for the business.”
“I called them and told them there was a pipe there,” Sharma said. “They said ‘do whatever you want, there’s no gas in the pipe.’”
According to county staff, any penalties for unauthorized work in the right-of-way that caused the gas leak would be levied by Washington Gas. Representatives from Washington Gas did not return multiple messages seeking comment. Sharma said he hasn’t had any indication he’d be penalized for causing the leak.
Sharma agreed to stop construction while waiting for the county to approve his permit.
Gas Leak Causes Evacuation in Clarendon — A Saturday gas leak forced the closing of Clarendon Blvd. near the Clarendon Metro station. Approximately 50 people evacuated six nearby buildings during the incident. Nobody was hurt. [Washington Post]
Proposal to Turn Basement into Classrooms — On Thursday, Arlington School Board members are expected to approve a $2 million project to turn basement crawl space into classrooms at Arlington Science Focus School. The project would end the need for the four relocatable classrooms on the school’s property, as well as a planned fifth. [InsideNova]
No GOP Treasurer Candidate So Far — The Arlington County Republican Committee doesn’t have any contenders so far to run in the special election for county treasurer. If no names are added by the August 15 deadline, Treasurer Carla de la Pava will be unopposed. [InsideNova]
Initial reports suggest a public works crew struck a one-inch gas line on the 2100 block of S. Pollard Street, near Fort Barnard Park and the intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive.
Arlington County police and firefighters are on the scene. Washington Gas was considering ordering an evacuation of houses in a two block radius, but measuring devices indicated that the gas had dissipated, according to scanner traffic.
Currently, only the 2100 block of S. Pollard Street is closed while crews repair the ruptured gas line.
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) A road in Rosslyn has been shut down due to a gas leak.
Currently, 19th Street N. is closed between Lynn Street and N. Kent Street. We’re told a 2-inch high pressure gas line was ruptured. Police and firefighters are on the scene, waiting for Washington Gas to make repairs.
As of 2:20 p.m. the gas had been shut off and the road was being reopened to pedestrians. However, traffic restrictions are expected to remain in place.
(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) Glebe Road has been temporarily closed south of Columbia Pike due to a gas leak.
Initial reports suggest a road construction crew struck an unmarked 2-inch gas line, rupturing it.
Police and firefighters have closed the stretch of Glebe between Columbia Pike and 12th Street S. to traffic while crews work to shut off the gas. There’s a strong smell of natural gas in the area, and pedestrians are being limited to one side of the street.
Drivers, particularly those heading northbound on Glebe, should expect delays in the area. Northbound drivers are advised to use Walter Reed Drive as an alternate route.
Police say they expect the road to remain closed until at least 4:00 p.m.
Update at 4:45 p.m. — Firefighters report that the gas has been shut off. Police are attempting to open up a lane of traffic through the intersection.
Earlier: A gas line break may snarl the drive home for some Crystal City commuters.
The four-way intersection of Long Bridge Drive, Crystal Drive, Clark Street and 12th Street S. is currently closed to traffic while Washington Gas crews try to shut the gas off. Police and firefighters are on the scene, and streets leading to the intersection have been closed to through traffic.
“Expect major residual delays and avoid this area if possible, as repairs are expected to last several hours,” the county said in an Arlington Alert email.
The leak is in a large 8-inch gas line and there’s a strong odor of natural gas in the area around it. The break is causing gas to loudly bubble up through standing rainwater in the middle of the intersection.
Road construction crews were seen working on the intersection and on parts of Long Bridge Drive earlier this morning.
Earlier: A two square block area in the Buckingham neighborhood, near the Gates of Ballston apartment complex, has been closed to vehicle and pedestrian vehicle due to a gas line rupture.
Construction workers ruptured a 2 inch gas line outside an apartment building at the corner of 4th Street N. and N. Thomas Street, according to scanner traffic. Washington Gas is on scene making repairs while firefighters stand by.
Police have shut down 4th Street between Glebe Road and George Mason Drive, and N. Thomas Street between N. Henderson Road and N. Pershing Drive.
The road closures may soon be lifted, however, as Washington Gas has reportedly shut off the gas to the ruptured line.
The incident happened around 6:00 p.m. A repair person was working on a stove at the restaurant when some gas that had built up in the stove ignited, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
The repair person was injured by broken glass, Karl said. The injuries were non-life-threatening.
On Twitter, the restaurant said it “had to close for 20 minutes” after a “small incident with our oven.” No additional information about the incident or the victim is available at this time.
Photo courtesy Mark Alves. Hat tip to David Johnson.
Update at 12:05 p.m. — The line is capped and streets will reopen once emergency equipment is cleared from the roadway.
Earlier: Crews are on the scene of a gas leak in Crystal City, where several blocks are being closed to traffic.
We’re told a construction crew hit a two-inch gas line near Crystal Drive and 20th Street South. Crystal Drive has been shut down from 18th Street to 23rd Street while workers repair the line. Firefighters are currently checking nearby buildings for elevated gas levels.
There’s no estimate on when the road will re-open.
Arlington police and firefighters are shutting down part of Henderson Road near Ballston due to a gas main rupture.
Henderson Road is being closed between Glebe Road and N. Thomas Street, according to scanner traffic. Some buildings on the block may also be in the process of being evacuated.
Washington Gas is en route to the scene.
Update at 12:20 p.m. — Firefighters have cleared and drivers can now get through on Washington Blvd. Washington Gas remains at the scene.
Earlier: Drivers should avoid the area of Washington Blvd near N. Highland Street, where a gas leak is causing traffic trouble.
Washington Blvd is shut in the eastbound/southbound direction at N. Highland Street, and in the westbound/northbound direction at N. Garfield Street, while firefighters investigate a reported leak in a four-inch gas line at a construction site. Washington Gas is also on the scene.
Police are helping to direct traffic at the scene while workers fix the problem. It’s recommended that pedestrians also avoid the area until the leak is fixed.
Authorities have received multiple calls from people in the area who have smelled mercaptan, the odor additive in natural gas, according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Washington Gas has apparently traced the smell back to the gas transmission line, but it’s unclear what exactly is wrong with it. Road construction is taking place in the area, but Sternbeck said the gas company is investigating whether the weight of the vehicles passing by on westbound Route 50 is what’s actually causing problems.
Earlier road closures in the area have been lifted, Sternbeck said. Crews from VDOT and Washington Gas are still on the scene, trying to determine the extent of the problem.
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Pershing Drive has been closed at N. Cleveland Street, between N. Barton Street and N. Danville Street in the Lyon Park neighborhood, due to a reported gas leak.
So far crews aren’t sure how big the ruptured gas line is, but there are concerns that it may be a larger distribution line.
Police are redirecting traffic around the leak until the gas company can patch up the line. The leak is three blocks from Fort Myer and one block from an apartment construction site.
Update at 12:50 p.m. — We hear that Pershing Drive will remain closed for “a couple of hours” while gas company crews dig up the street to reach the leak.
Update at 4:35 p.m. — The leak has been stopped. Police are reportedly preparing to reopen the southbound lanes of Glebe Road.
Update at 3:55 p.m. — From Arlington Alerts: “Both north and southbound Glebe Rd will be closed between N. Pershing Dr and N. Piedmont St through evening rush hour due to an outside gas leak. Please Avoid traveling in the area if possible.”
All lanes of Glebe Road are closed near N. Pershing Drive due to a gas main rupture.
Traffic is backed up in the area as police redirect traffic. Crews from Washington Gas are on the scene digging up part of Glebe Road in an effort to repair what’s said to be a 3 inch gas line.
Arlington County says Glebe Road is expected to remain closed for an “extended time” — possibly several more hours.
This is the second time this month that Glebe Road has been closed due to a gas leak. On Jan. 6 the busy commuter artery was closed for part of the evening rush hour after contruction crews accidentally ruptured a gas line at Glebe Road and N. Piedmont Street, two blocks away from today’s incident.
The Arlington County Fire Department is investigating a possible gas leak inside Wakefield High School.
Firefighters are laying out fire hoses while they try to find the source of a gas-like odor in the school, which has been evacuated.
Police are also responding to the scene to assist with traffic control. Chesterfield Road is being blocked off in front of the school.