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Response to Gas Tanker Fire on I-95

Our gas team successfully maintained natural gas service to our customers in Norwalk, Connecticut, after a fire destroyed the Fairfield Avenue Bridge at I-95, under which runs our 99PSI (high-pressure) natural gas main. 

At approximately 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 2, a multi-vehicle crash involving a tanker truck transporting 8,500 gallons of gasoline caused a gasoline-fed fire that shut down traffic on I-95 in both directions. The crash and fire caused major delays, impacting school and bus schedules in the area.  

The bridge sustained significant damage from the fire, and the state Department of Transportation (DOT)  determined that it must be demolished. 

Aftermath of the tanker crash and fire underneath the Fairfield Avenue bridge in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Our gas crews were on-site early Thursday morning working with emergency responders, city and state officials – including the Governor’s Office, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) and the CT DOT – to assess the situation, respond to any natural gas safety concerns, and ensure the gas distribution wasn’t further compromised thereby resulting in an even larger emergency.  

The gas team worked throughout the day coordinating with our electric team, as well as other utility partners with impacted infrastructure, to develop and implement a complex bypass procedure to ensure uninterrupted gas service for all our customers, while simultaneously isolating the affected main in preparation for the bridge’s demolition. 

By Thursday evening, crews had successfully completed the system tie-over, verified system stability across multiple gas distribution networks, isolated the gas main under the overpass, and surveyed the impacted section of the main to ensure there was no risk to public safety responders or the public. Overnight, the team worked to cut out the pipe and install end caps ahead of demolition. 

 Our gas team reports on scene and responds to system needs.

“I was so impressed by how safely and swiftly the gas team responded to the unfortunate accident in Norwalk, particularly given the proximity of our high-pressure gas line to the bridge fire,” said Paul Chodak, executive vice-president and chief operations officer. “The fact that we were able to identify and implement a solution to isolate our gas pipe so that the bridge could be demolished without any impact on service to our customers is a testament to the experience and hard work of all those involved in our response, and I sincerely appreciate our team’s efforts under challenging conditions.” 

At a press conference on Thursday evening, the CT DOT thanked first responders including police, fire, and Eversource for “making sure the response to the incident went as well as possible”.