Car plows into home, gas meter

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
A car plowed into a Carver Avenue home Friday night turning the occupied structure into a potential bomb.
According to officers, a four-door Ford Taurus with an Escambia County Florida license plate was traveling west on Carver Avenue when it apparently left the roadway at a high rate of speed and crashed into the brick wall of the occupied residence.
"It was a scary situation," Tom Wolfe with the Atmore Utilities Department said. "I don't know why it (house) didn't explode with the car on top of the gas meter. The meter on the house was disintegrated."
Atmore Police Department, Atmore Fire and Rescue, Kelley's Ambulance and Atmore Utilities Department responded to the call around 9:30 p.m. Friday night at 131 Carver Avenue.
The occupants of the home called the police about the accident but were not on scene when the police department arrived.
Officers were also unable to locate the occupants of the wrecked vehicle. The vehicle showed visible signs of injuries to the driver and possible passengers.
"We used an imaging camera that picks up a person's body heat to search the surrounding area for the people in the car," Atmore Fire and Rescue Chief Gerry McGhee said.
McGhee's department was also on hand to assist the City gas and water department as they turned off the gas at the main located on the side of the street. His department also opened up the home allowing the gas to escape.
"We're fortunate that it didn't blow," McGhee said. "The car tore the meter and everything with it out causing the house to fill up with gas."
The service line for natural gas runs from the main by the street to the meter on the house, which then filters the gas into the home.
"Natural gas is not as dangerous when it is out in the open," Wolfe said. "But when it gets trapped, like it did in the house, you've got a potential bomb."
Atmore Utilities employees Chris Singleton and Henry Freeman were able to stop the flow of gas from the main and later entered the home with a CGI (concentrated gas indicator) to check the levels of gas present in the house. According to Wolfe, they got a zero reading in all the rooms at that time.
"We were lucky that we didn't have a serious accident on our hands with the gas," Wolfe said.
The vehicle could not be pulled from the home until the utilities board and the Atmore Fire and Rescue Department cleared the scene of any and all gas levels.
The incident continues to be under investigation by the Atmore Police Department.

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