Chesaning residents concerned about excess natural gas released
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
CHESANING, MI (WNEM) -
Some Chesaning families are fearful about reoccurring gas leaks near their homes.
They claim they're evacuating for their health and safety, and they point the finger of blame at Consumer's Energy.
"Definitely a ticking time bomb," said Andrea Goward, who lives near the small building in Chesaning she said is scaring the neighborhood to death.
She said it's been very scary recently.
"We hear the bang, and then you can just smell gas, awful, and then rushing water, and the smell is awful," explained Manissa Porter, who lives nearby.
Neighbors say the rotten egg-like smell of natural gas has filled the air four times in the past three weeks.
"All you can think of is you're waiting for the explosion to hit you," said Goward.
The smell comes from the vents of a Consumer's Energy building. TV5 called Consumer's Energy to piece together exactly what's going on.
"When there's excess pressure in the system, this station is designed to release the excess pressure to the atmosphere," explained Consumer's Energy spokesperson Roger Morgenstern.
Morganstern said what's happening is nothing out of the ordinary. He said it's a regulator station, and its purpose is to relieve pipeline gas pressure.
"There's not any type of public safety danger to this. There's not an imminent ignition source. This is just releasing excess gas into the air to bring the pressure down," said Morgenstern.
He said once the vents release the gas, the gas dissipates in the air. He also said debris in the lines is to blame for the recent releases, and there hasn't been any reason for Consumer's to call for evacuations.
But local fire officials don't necessarily agree.
Kevin Carlton is the assistant chief of the Chesaning-Brady Fire Department. He said the department has made the decision to call for evacuations just to be safe.
"If they say it's not a big deal, it's in their court then," said Carlton.
"But would you evacuate if your family lived there?" asked TV5.
"I would, yes, if my family was close by, yes, if I smelled it, yes," said Carlton.
And it's that smell that has the people who live here concerned.
"Because it's natural gas, why would you not worry about gas?" said neighbor Susan Davis.
As far as Consumer's Energy's next move, Morgenstern told TV5 they will continue to monitor the situation, but there are no plans past that.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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