‘No one was hurt and there were no real problems’ after workers break line

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 2, 2005

The business day got off to slow start in much of downtown Thursday, after a construction crew doing road work broke a gas line at the intersection of West Washington and Saratoga streets.

Businesses within a block’s radius of the intersection were evacuated for nearly 90 minutes after the incident around 8 a.m., said Lt. Jim Judkins, spokesman for the Suffolk Fire Department.

&uot;No one was hurt and there were no real problems,&uot; said Judkins. &uot;Things went pretty much without incident.&uot;

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But it was frustrating, both for the dozens of downtown employees gathered along sidewalks and in parking lots and the public safety workers working the accident.

Suffolk Police Officer R.D. Sieg, who was controlling traffic on Saratoga Street, was frustrated as several drivers disregarded his direction to stop.

Lab technician Dee Granville and nutritionist Amy Kippy, both employees at Main Street Physicians, anxiously awaited the all-clear signal to return to their office. Several elderly patients with diabetes and heart conditions were already waiting at the office for early medical appointments, they said.

&uot;The first thing in the morning is when we do the elderly,&uot; Granville said. &uot;They are often dropped off and don’t have transportation.

&uot;They’re not very mobile. That’s why it’s scary.&uot;

Taylor Tresser, who was nursing a knee injury, was walking to Main Street Physicians to drop off some paperwork when she encountered the road block.

&uot;I’m in a lot of pain,&uot; she said. &uot;I’m not sure what to do.&uot;

Nearby, Edward House, an attorney at Glasscock, Gardy and Savage, was waiting on fire personnel to check things out so he could pick up files for a 10 a.m. court hearing.

&uot;I think the judge will be understanding,&uot; he said.

Steve Gellas, owner of Pisces Seafood Restaurant, had come to work around 8:30 and was having a cup of coffee while he watched the action. Originally from New Jersey, he was surprised that the gas company had not shown up some 30 minutes after the leak was detected.

&uot;This is dangerous,&uot; Gellas said. &uot;You can smell it all the way down the street.

&uot;In New Jersey, this type of thing happened all the time. There, the gas company would have been there in a matter of minutes.&uot;