Coal Valley Police Chief helps to defuse gas leak

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Coal Valley Police Chief Mark Poulos kept a volatile situation at a gas main break from getting worse on Wednesday morning.

"We wanted it shut off, making sure that sparks were not available near rushing gas, he recalled.

That's after a construction crew struck a three-inch gas main around 8:30 Wednesday morning near 1900 E. 6th Street. They also left a truck engine running near the break.

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The veteran police officer made the call to enter the truck and turn off the ignition. It was a tense time. Chief Poulos said the gas break sounded like a loud waterfall.

"A little unnerving," he recalled. "You hear the gas blowing as bad as it was. Got it shut off."

"That's a little dicey," added Village Administrator Alan Wilson. "But at least it prevented any kind of explosion from occurring."

First responders evacuated nearly 40 homes around the surrounding area for nearly two hours.

Mid American Energy crews were able to cap the gas break. By 11 a.m., residents were able to return home.