Firefighters, Nicor Crews Work About 2 Hours to Resolve a Natural Gas Leak at Pipes Outside Rear of Dunton Tower on Vail Ave, Arlington Heights


Natural gas leak pipeline repair outside Dunton Tower Apartments on Vail Avenue, Arlington Heights Tuesday night, February 11, 2020.

Police and firefighter/paramedics from Arlington Heights responded about 9:06 p.m. Tuesday February 11, 2020 to a report of natural gas odor in the lobby and near the elevator shaft of Dunton Tower, 55 South Vail Avenue.

Upon arrival firefighters could smell natural gas in the lobby. A portable gas detection device did not detect dangerous levels, but did detect elevated readings for natural gas.

Firefighters discovered that the commercial gas meter at the back of the building had a leak with a whistling noise with gas venting outside in the area. Firefighters requested Nicor respond to the scene, and upgraded the incident to dispatch extra fire crews to the scene for monitoring and emergency standby.

There was also a strong smell of gas just east of the building at the Dunton Court strip mall. According to the National Weather Station at O’Hare International Airport, the wind was from the west at 7 MPH at 8:51 p.m. and was from the west at 10 MPH at 9:51 p.m.

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Firefighters worked to ventilate the first floor of the building, and received a report that a resident on the 11th floor could smell gas when the windows were opened. Firefighters kept the rear door closed, and reported at least one reading decreased, likely as a result of ventilation from west and south doors that were opened on the first floor. Firefighters reported zero level on the portable gas detection device by about 9:37 p.m. A caller to 9-1-1 on the 14th floor also reported a strong smell of gas, but the odor occurred when the balcony sliding door was opened, and the odor dissipated when the sliding glass door was closed.

Engine 3’s crew reported an odor of gas on Dunton Avenue, but zero readings on their portable gas detection device.

Police shut down Sigwalt Street between Dunton Avenue and Vail Avenue and also shut down the back alley behind Dunton Tower.

Nicor was on the scene by about 9:48 p.m. and discovered the source of the problem by about 9:51 p.m. Pressure in piping outside the building was over pressurized, but the excess pressure was held outside the building with a safety regulator that was built in to the piping near inlet to the building.

Professionals from Nicor were able to repair the issue without interrupting natural gas supply to the residents of Dunton Tower.

Extra fire companies were returned about 10:00 p.m. but the first due crews remained on the scene to standby while Nicor repaired or temporarily adjusted the piping near the rear inlet to the building. Firefighters turned the scene over to Nicor about 11:20 p.m., and all firefighters left the scene about 11:25 p.m. There was no confirmation whether Nicor had additional repair work to do upstream on the gas lines, but the scene at Dunton Tower was stabilized prior to 11:20 p.m.

The information in this article is an early report published before any summary information was confirmed or released by police or fire authorities.


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