Gas leak at Vienna air station forces evacuation for second time this week

Local News

For the second time this week, a gas issue is being investigated at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna

VIENNA TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Thursday morning brought more natural gas leaks at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna.

“You’re dealing with a gas agent,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Schaffer, operations group commander. “It’s very serious, explosive factors. So they are doing everything they can. Our fire department, our security forces, along with our base engineers, are working overtime to help mitigate the situation we’re in.”

Dominion Energy first discovered the issues just two days ago. They were sent to investigate complaints of natural gas odor.

By Wednesday, gas was restored after a Dominion spokesman said all of the company’s equipment was OK and the leak was within the base’s natural gas piping system.

“At night, we have no gas leaks. When everybody comes back to work the next morning, we have people in the buildings and then people can start smelling it,” Shaffer said. “Then what happens is the gas is outside where the check valves are and some of the gas is being fed with the HVAC systems into the buildings.”

Dominion crews were back on base Thursday, helping to find the problem.

“We tested our own system and that equipment was working as it should, and we also helped the base personnel to pinpoint the leaks and repairs that they need to make,” said Neil Durbin, with Dominion Energy.

As of noon Thursday, all nonessential personnel were sent home.

The base will be closed Friday. Officials have already canceled this weekend’s unit training assembly and will be rescheduling it.

“We have 300 [people] here daily. If we’re doing it here, we need to make sure we take care of the Reservists, too, coming in,” Shaffer said.

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