Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gas Leaks and Fire Trucks and Police...OH MY!

So today started out fairly normal...but that changed pretty quick.

I went to the office and after I was there about an hour, I heard an incredible BOOM!  Then is sounded like a 747 was idling right outside my window.  I got up and went to look out the window of the youth room and the sound got louder...but I couldn't see anything that was burning or would be making that noise.  Then I went out to the side door of our church and when I opened it...well, I have never heard anything so loud in my life.  Next to the church there is a very small little building where a gas main is housed (or something very similar) and I could see that something was spewing out the pipe at the top.  I realize that gas is invisible, but there was a flame for just a minute as well and even without the flame you could see the gas coming out because it was escaping so fast.

Soon, there were police cars blocking the road, and fire trucks on either end in front of the police.  Now here is the thing...I was alone at the church at that particular time.  My car was in the garage next door.  I walked outside several times (specifically in view of the firemen) hoping that someone would come and tell me what was happening...or if I needed to evacuate.   But no one told me anything.  Finally after this had gone on for about a half an hour to 45 minutes, I walked out to one of the fire trucks and asked what was happening.  He said that there was gas spewing out of the pipe and that while the gas people were there, they were not closing it yet.  I asked if I should leave and told him that my car was in the garage next to the church (which was closer to the leak) and he said that I shouldn't open the garage door because it could cause a spark.  "Should I leave?" I asked.  "Well," he said, "If you see my truck backing up, I'd run like crazy." (Expletive deleted)

So, I went back into the church and went back to my office to collect my things.  That part of the church reeked of gas so I figured leaving was a good idea.  All the while, my Aunt was telling me (via phone...not in person) to "leave the building...go! Go! Go!"  She was quite annoyed that I was humming as I was gathering my things in no huge hurry.  I also grabbed a blanket because I had not worn a coat to my office and it was 20 degrees outside.  Not really a big deal, but I figured I might need to walk a bit, so I wanted to be I draped the blanket over my bag and headed out of the church.

I walked down the block past the police and went into a Arby's that was at the end of the block.  It wasn't busy (even though it was lunchtime) because hardly anyone could get to it because of the roadblocks.  The people working in the Arby's didn't know what was causing the roadblock and though they could hear the gas leak (which no longer sounded like a 747, but more like a semi engine idling) didn't know what the sound was.  So if filled them in...and we waited together for the craziness to end.  The marvelous folks at Arby's gave me a free lunch as I waited.  (They really are wonderful people...if you get the chance, stop in at the North Vernon Arby's)

Finally after the gas had been gushing for more than an hour (possibly closer to two), they got it stopped.  Then just as quickly as it had started, all the emergency personnel left and the traffic started to move.  Within about 20 minutes, you would never have known there was an issue.

I went back to the church and called a fire chief who gave me the "All clear."

Praise the Lord for His goodness today.  This could have been so bad.  I saw a flame coming out of that pipe, but it didn't last long...IN A GAS didn't last long.  Amazing!  There were no explosions and no one got hurt.  And as crazy as this day was...I wasn't worried.  Even as I was texting and Facebooking updates to friends and family or talking to people on the phone...I was very calm inside.  I serve a big God and I knew no matter what...He was in charge.   When I should have been frazzled...I wasn't.  God is so good.

How appropriate that there is church tonight.  :-)  "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty!  There's nothing my God cannot do!"  That song (the GO FISH version) has been running through my head today.  Thank you Lord!

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