W. Knoxville gas line breaks open, neighborhood put on edge

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Knoxville (WVLT) – It started as a simple repair on Saturday, but quickly turned into a scary situation for a West Knoxville Neighborhood.

According to neighbors, a man was trying to repair the waterline going to his house on Buckhaven Ct. when the trench digging machine he was using broke open a natural gas line and caught on fire.

Several neighbors were gathering next door for a holiday party and notice the hustle and bustle of emergency activity outside

“Well anytime you have a gas leak or gas fire that can happen,” said Kim Peters, a neighbor. “It was a little scary."

The man operating the machine had been working in his front yard.

He noticed the gas starting to come up through the hole and made it away safely, while authorities rushed to the scene.

"The fireman was waving at us,” said Phil Butler, another neighbor. “We thought to get in the house, but he wanted us out of the house. So any house that had gas, which we do, they wanted everyone out."

Luckily outside of some singed power lines, the only damage was to the trench digger.

Scott warden rural metro

"If it was right near a house which we've had before, you could have had the outside of a house being involved in fire,” said Scott Warden from Rural/Metro.

It's unclear if the homeowner had followed proper procedure to call before you dig.

Even if he did, experts say accidents are still possible and a dangerous reality.

"Anytime you're opening up the ground where previous utilities have been installed, you run the risk of hitting underground utilities,” said Warden.

Rural/Metro says you should always call the utility company before you dig.

You can do that by using the Tennessee One Call System, simply dial 1-800-351-1111

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