Car Hits Gas Line; Prompts Near Evacuation Near Cleveland Nursing Home

Friday, February 08, 2013
- photo by Stan Clark

A car jumped a curb at Signature Health Care in Cleveland, Tn., on Friday afternoon, then crashed through a five-foot retaining wall and struck a gas meter. This in turn ruptured the natural gas line below ground causing a serious natural gas leak.

In the 3:30 p.m. incident, Bradley County Emergency Medical Service had an ambulance on the scene that had just dropped off a patient to the nursing facility. The crew heard the collision and ran outside to help.

When the EMTs reached the vehicle natural gas was spewing from the ground and the smell of the gas was overwhelming. They called their dispatcher immediately to respond the Cleveland Fire Department and more ambulances.

They were initially unable to get the occupants out of the car due to the debris and damage to the vehicle. When help arrived a rapid extrication was performed to free the 65-year-old male passenger who had inhaled a large amount of the natural gas. He was transported by EMS to Sky Ridge Medical Center in stable condition. The female driver was not injured.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene. The gas leak posed a larger problem in that the safety of the nursing home residents was now compromised. Bradley County EMS had multiple ambulances stage close by. EMS officials met with Signature Health Care staff to coordinate a possible evacuation.

Perry Rogers, the assistant chief for EMS, arrived on the scene to assist in coordination with other facilities that could receive residents for temporary placement. Troy Spence from the Emergency Management Agency was notified. He coordinated with the Cleveland City Schools and had two school buses staged. Some residents would be moved to Cleveland Middle School. He also had members from the Bradley County Fire and Rescue standing by to assist in the evacuation.

Stan Clark of Bradley County EMS said, “The smell of natural gas was pretty strong inside the building. The Cleveland Fire Department was using their monitoring equipment to check the air quality. The trigger point for evacuation would have been if the gas level reached 10 parts per million. The highest it got was 3 parts per million.”

He said the Chattanooga Gas Company worked diligently and was able to successfully cut off the gas by locating the street cut-off valve.

He stated, “The Chattanooga Gas Company had a quick response and brought in some heavy equipment to dig and locate the shut-off valve. They did a great job. If not for their quick response and getting the gas shut off, we would have been in a full blown evacuation.”

The gas was successfully shut off at 5:04 p.m. The Cleveland Fire Department ventilated the building to remove the lingering fumes and odor. Once given the all clear all emergency units were advised they could stand down.

Mr. Clark said, “We have several nursing type facilities in Cleveland. Today we saw how quick an event could occur to require a full-scale evacuation. This was one of the closest times we have ever come to having to fully evacuate a facility of this type. All of the pre-planning, annual drills and continued training paid off today.”

- Photo2 by Stan Clark

Pair Charged With Beating Man With Stick, Taking His Wallet

Two men are charged with beating a man with a large stick while he slept on the steps of a downtown church, then taking his wallet. Jerry Quincy Allen, 45, and James Leo Boas, 40, both of 727 E. 11th St., are charged with aggravated robbery. In the incident on Wednesday, Bradley Casehart said he and a friend were asleep at Tompkin Chapel Church on Palmetto Street. He ... (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For Dec. 12-18

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for Dec. 12-18: Marshall George Wilson, 53, of 75 Pineridge Drive, Rossville was arrested December 17 on charges of child molestation, rape and aggravated sodomy.   Stephon Q. Bishop, 19, of 122 Lilac Lane, Fort Oglethorpe was arrested December 12 on a probation violation. Anthony Lynn Duckett, 32, of 92 Breezy Trail, ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: God Bless Cathy & Co.

The secret to the whole thing is not getting caught but somebody at the Toys R Us store in Framingham, Mass., had a camera when Cathy O’Grady was very quietly paying off all the layaway balances at the popular location last week. The picture snaked its way onto social media sites and her friends quickly recognized the area’s most famous “layaway angel.” Then somebody in nearby ... (click for more)

Red Bank Falls To Riverdale, 77-64, In Rhea Tournament

 EVENSVILLE, Tenn. – Red Bank Nick Fike has a method to his madness. Fike has the Lions playing in this week’s Hoops Holiday Tournament at Rhea County High School and also will guide them in the Sonic Shootout at White County on Dec. 27 and 29-30. “It’s all about getting ready for the district (6-AA) tournament,” Fike said Friday night after the Lions fell to Class AAA ... (click for more)

McCallie, Cleveland lead McCallie Mat Tourney

Two former McCallie Invitational champs - host McCallie and Cleveland - are one-two in the team standings, respectively, and head into Saturday morning with a combined 13 wrestlers in the championship semifinals. McCallie, who last won this tourney in 2010 has seven wrestlers in the semis, while the Blue Raiders captured the inaugural event in 1981 under former head ... (click for more)