Damages to an underground gas line just before noon on Friday caused the extended closure of busy intersections across the Cascades area.
At 11:44 a.m. on Friday, February 14, 2020, Engine 618 from Cascades was dispatched for an outside gas leak at the intersection of Harry Byrd Hwy and Potomac View Road. Firefighters arrived on the scene and discovered that during construction a large-diameter gas line was struck on Potomac View Road. Additional resources were requested, bringing fire and rescue units from Sterling Park, Kincora, Lansdowne, Fairfax County, along with the Hazardous Materials Response Team from Dulles South.
Fire and rescue crews worked alongside units from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) to quickly shut down eastbound lanes of Harry Byrd Highway and areas of Potomac View Road. To ensure their safety, several business in the immediate area were evacuated. Firefighters set up atmospheric detection operations strategically across the affected area to monitor conditions. Acceptable readings showed no hazard in the westbound lanes of Harry Byrd Highway allowing that section of the roadway to remain open.
Washington Gas arrived on the scene and advised that they would need to dig to secure the leak. In order to avoid shutting off gas to roughly 700 customers with temperatures in the low 30’s, Washington Gas was able to lower the pressure in the gas line and maintain service. Fire and rescue and law enforcement maintained the road closures allowing Washington Gas to access and repair the damaged gas line.
In addition to LCSO, fire and rescue was assisted by various local agencies throughout the extended incident. Representatives from the Loudoun County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Virginia State Police (VASP), the Virginia State Corporation Commission (VA-SCC), and Canteen Units from Sterling Fire and Leesburg Rescue all provided critical support services throughout the incident. Approximately six hours into the incident, fire and rescue units from Kincora, Sterling Park, Ashburn, Leesburg, and Fairfax County responded to scene to relieve first responders and assume monitoring activities.
Fire and Rescue units remained on the scene until Washington Gas secured the leak at approximately 4:45 a.m. on Saturday, February 15, 2020. Firefighters took gas readings throughout the area one final time to ensure the leak was contained and no hazardous conditions existed before allowing entry to the area.