Crews rushed to fix gas pipeline rupture that closed busy Farmington intersection Friday

John R. Moses
Farmington Daily Times
A fire truck turns from Sullivan Avenue onto Positive Way en route to a position in front of the Allen 8 Theaters on East 20th Street Friday afternoon as crews work nearby on a broken gas main at East 20th Street and Sullivan Avenue.

FARMINGTON – Gas company crews worked into the night to fix a ruptured natural gas pipeline that caused a fiery scene at East 20th Street and Sullivan Avenue Friday morning, New Mexico Gas Company spokesman Tim Korte said.

“Shortly after 11 this morning, a contractor company was drilling a bore near 20th Street and Sullivan Avenue when the bore penetrated a 4-inch steel natural gas pipeline,”Korte said via email Friday night. “New Mexico Gas Company personnel responded to stop the leak. While the leak was still active, electrical lines above the intersection arced and ignited the blowing gas.”

New Mexico Gas Company crews controlled the leak by 2:30 p.m. and began repairs, Korte said on Friday. The job took nine hours to complete.

"Our crews finished at 11:30 last night and turned the scene back to the City to restore traffic flow," Korte said Saturday.

The gas main rupture caused some local evacuations and shut down the intersection, the fire department’s Facebook page said. The Fire Department initially posted about the gas leak then began posting updates to its Facebook page at 12:30 p.m.

“Crews will be shutting down power near 20th and Sullivan,” the first update announced. “Homes and businesses in the area may be without power for the duration of this event.”

Multiple fire units had responded. The department announced at 12:48 p.m. that evacuations were happening and those who needed to be evacuated had already been contacted. 

Later in the day the department passed along Farmington Municipal Schools’ request that parents use 30th Street to reach Northeast Elementary School and Hermosa Middle School.

Note: This story was updated on Jan. 29, 2022 to include information about when the repair work was finished.

Contact John R. Moses at 505-564-4624, or via email at jmoses@daily-times.com.

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