News release from the City of Cairo - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

News release from the City of Cairo

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Press Release 

A City of Cairo gas crew employee was killed at approximately 11:30 a.m. 

Tuesday morning when a gas line ignited and three other workers were injured. According to Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton, the city gas crew has been conducting leak detection surveys around the city. A leak had been discovered in the metal gas line at the intersection of 4th Ave. and 4th St. N. W.

The repairs began early this morning as the crew dug up the street to repair the leak. As the workers attempted to couple the new PVC pipe with the metal pipe something caused the natural gas to ignite. It has not been determined the exact cause at this time.

The victim is Wendell Harrison, who has been an employee of the city since June 16, 1994 and a member of the gas crew since July 31, 2003. 

Peter Garland, who supervises the gas crew, suffered burns to his arms and face and was transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for treatment. His condition is not known.

Two other gas crew members, Jay Spence and Tony Hudson, suffered minor burns and were treated and released at Grady General Hospital in Cairo.

Other members of the gas crew who were on the scene and assisting with traffic direction were not injured.

Once the gas was shut off and the fire extinguished the scene was barricaded off and once it cooled down Asst. Coroner Rusty Powe conducted his investigation and the body was removed shortly before 1 p.m.

The city has notified the Georgia Public Service Commission and the National  Response Center in Washington D.C. Two PSC investigators will be in Cairo late Tuesday evening to investigate the incident.

The city manager issued the following statement, "It is devastating when you lose a fellow employee. Our prayers go out to the family and to Peter Garland and his family. We hope his injuries are not severe and he has a speedy recovery. My hope is we can identify the cause of the accident so that we can prevent anything like this from happening again."

Counseling for city employees has been arranged and a City of Thomasville gas crew has been requested to complete the repairs to the gas line pending the conclusion of the PSC investigation.

  

                                                                        Chris Addleton

                                                                        City Manager