If it had exploded, the 8,500 cubic feet of natural gas that leaked into the former Kroger grocery store on South Illinois Avenue on Tuesday could have had a devastating impact on the shopping center and blown out windows in nearby businesses, possibly even across the street, a city official said Wednesday.
“Had it exploded, we would have been on national news,” Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said. “It could have been devastating for all the businesses in that complex.”
Authorities suspect that the gas slowly flowed into the 30,000-square-foot grocery store starting Tuesday morning through an uncapped gas line that was once connected to an oven.
By the time emergency workers responded to a report of a gas leak on Tuesday afternoon, Kerley said, “the store was almost completely filled with a dangerous concentration of natural gas.” [Read more…]