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A natural gas leak, caused by machine operators on the North Street sewer project, led to an interruption in normal ventilation at UMMC.

"Our maintenance staff noticed there was a smell of natural gas" around 8:30am this morning, said hospital spokeswoman Colleen Flynn. "They immediately took some actions to identify where it was coming from – whether it was an internal source or an external source."

National Fuel and city firefighters were dispatched to the scene, and located the leak just outside a North Street residence. According to National Fuel senior foreman Chris Mazerbo, a machine struck the 2-inch steel pipe.

Mazerbo and several National Fuel staffers shut gas service off to 6 houses in the area. The all-clear was given within the hour, and lines have been repaired. No medical issues were reported in the immediate vicinity.

Flynn said no adverse effects from gas inhalation were reported at the hospital. The hospital's ventilation system, which draws outdoor air within the hospital, was shut off for a time. It has since been returned to normal operation.


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