Gas Leak

Authorities respond to a gas leak near 21st Street and Memorial Drive on Jan. 31. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

The explosion that caused evacuations and street closures near 21st Street and Memorial Drive last week occurred when an “unexpected release of gas” occurred while a crew was working on the relocation of a gas distribution line, according to a statement released Monday by Oklahoma Natural Gas.

The statement notes that the incident is still under investigation but provides no further details on the work that was being done.

The utility has performed repairs and safety checks and has “found no other concerns,” according to its statement.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission also continues to investigate the cause and circumstances surrounding the gas leak and explosion.

The explosion occurred when the 16-inch gas line ruptured and spewed natural gas into the air in the 2200 block of South Memorial Drive around 3 p.m. Jan. 31. Gas service was affected in a 3-mile radius of that point, ONG said.

Characterizing the event as an “incident,” an ONG spokeswoman said previously that the utility would be “looking at all aspects to determine exactly what happened.”

Paul Zachary, director of the city of Tulsa’s Engineering Services Department, said ONG has a franchise agreement with the city to operate in its rights of way.

The city does not oversee ONG’s work but is informed when incidents occur, he said.

ONG informed the city on Jan. 31 that the high-pressure line had ruptured but said the company had yet to determine the exact cause.

At ONG’s request, city crews sent a video camera through the inside of the broken line, beginning at the rupture point and ending approximately 900 feet south on Memorial Drive, so its condition could be seen, Zachary said.

The city has plans to rehabilitate Memorial from 11th to 31st streets, but work on that project will not begin until ONG is through installing its gas lines. Zachary said he doesn’t know when that will be.

ONG customers who are still without natural gas service are encouraged to call 1-800-664-5463 for reconnection. Customers must be present to have service restored.

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