No Need for Evacuation After Gas Line was Struck on Former MacMurray Campus

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 24, 2023 at 11:05am

No one was injured after a steel natural gas line was struck on the east side of Jacksonville this morning.

The Jacksonville/Morgan County Office of Emergency Management and Jacksonville Fire Department responded to a call from Ameren Illinois just before 9:00 this morning after Ameren electric workers digging at the former MacMurray campus reported striking a steel gas line in the open area between the former science building and the Midwest Athletic Center.

Jacksonville Fire Department Captain Mike Martin says Ameren gas crews arrived at the scene not long after the call while his department began checking buildings for signs of gas.

He said while at the scene this morning that Ameren had been following the proper procedures when the line was struck. “It was marked legally to dig, so something went wrong on their end. They hit a steel gas line. We immediately set p a monitoring operation and moved over to the Our Savior’s parish area and began monitoring the schools both interior and exterior.

We also have a team monitoring the MacMurray buildings. There has been no evacuation ordered on our end. Approximately fifteen minutes ago the gas line was secured so the leak is no longer in existence. We are doing our final walk-through at this time to verify that gas has not migrated anywhere.”

Captain Martin says Ameren is required to call the local authorities when incidents such as these happen. He says Ameren initially expected that securing the line would take several hours, however, a valve was found nearby and the line was shut off at approximately 9:45 am.

Workers in the Midwest Athletic Center were initially evacuated to the parking lot due to the close proximity to the line until the building was cleared for any gas. The fire department was on scene until 10:30 this morning.