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July 28, 2011

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800 homes lose gas as pipe crack causes fire

MORE than 800 households in the city's Putuo District were cut off from their gas supply early yesterday after a gas pipe cracked and caught fire after a water company put its own pipe too close to the gas pipe.

The gas supply was expected to be fully restored by 8:30am today after a late-night repair was scheduled for 10pm yesterday, said the Shanghai Shibei Gas Co.

Jin Pu, deputy manager of the gas company, said the Shanghai Water Construction Co's pipe was set too close to the gas pipe and caused the crack and gas leak.

The gas supply to 800 to 900 households in the area around Caoyang Road and Baiyu Road, where the incident happened, was cut off for the emergency repair of the 300-milimeter-wide pipe, which caught fire at 1:10am.

"The flames suddenly came out and the pipe looked terrible," said a witness who had walked by the pipe just as the fire broke out.

Police and firefighters soon cordoned off the scene and used hoses to control the fire and isolate the leaking gas. The fire was put out after the gas was cut off in the area.

"Our pipe was likely squeezed and cracked by theirs, which was 1,000 millimeters wide, bigger and heavier," Jin explained. "The staff of the water company should've left enough space and soil between the pipes."

The water company had been replacing their old pipes in the area and did not comment on the incident yesterday.

Similar damage to the city's underground utilities due to human error has occurred several times. In March, hundreds of households in Xuhui District suffered a power failure after underground cables caught fire as the power company was renovating cables. Later that month, residents of Pujiang Town, Minhang District, suffered a power failure after two cables were cut off by a real estate company's construction team.


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