A subcontracted drilling crew accidentally broke a natural gas line near Blake Medical Center in Bradenton on Friday morning.
The accident happened about around 10 a.m., according to John Coleman, the owner of Precision Directional Drilling.
He said he and his crew were drilling horizontally to install a pipe for Brighthouse Networks to put in fiber optics for a nearby bank. Coleman said that gas lines are usually marked with flags above the ground. He said they bypassed the first pipe, which was marked, but said a second unmarked four-inch gas line at the southwest corner of 59th Street West and 21st Avenue West was struck and began to leak.
“Not very often, but it does happen,” Coleman said. “As long as it’s not marked, we are not liable.”
Bradenton Fire Department battalion chief Steve Trompke said that no one was in direct danger and he does not know if the second pipe was unmarked. Bradenton Police blocked off 59th Street West from 17th Avenue and Point West Boulevard as well as parts of 21st Avenue West from 60th Street to the southern entrance of the Blake Medical Center.
Tampa Electric Co. arrived on scene about two hours after the leak started in order to dig for the original leak and patch it. Gas vapors could be seen from the hole where the drilling started.
Trompke said after TECO arrived, he doesn’t expect the fix to take more than an hour.