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Major gas main break disrupts Waukesha neighborhood

City of Waukesha Firefighter Steve Putchinski walks away from a natural gas leak at the intersection of Frederick Street and Lincoln Avenue on Wednesday, Aug. 27 in Waukesha.

City of Waukesha Firefighter Steve Putchinski walks away from a natural gas leak at the intersection of Frederick Street and Lincoln Avenue on Wednesday, Aug. 27 in Waukesha. Photo By Peter Zuzga

Aug. 27, 2014

A natural gas main broke open mid-morning today during road construction work at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Frederick Street, sending crews scurrying and forcing authorities to cordon off the area.

The plume of gas from the high-pressure line was so strong it picked up surrounding soil, creating a visible stream that caught the attention of nearby residents as well as the people who work in several adjacent industrial businesses along Lincoln Avenue.

The break occurred shortly before 10 a.m. today. Details were still sketchy and unofficial as of 11 a.m., as emergency workers secured the area. But a construction worker confirmed a gas main was struck as crews continued the summerlong sewer and road work on Lincoln. A foreman declined to offer an official comment.

One police officer said authorities didn't immediately feel an evacuation was necessary, though fire officials from the Waukesha Fire Department were actively moving people to an area several hundred feet away from the break.

The break also blocked access to and from the industrial businesses east of the intersection. Those affected include Eaton Corp. (the former Cooper Power Systems plant) and Waukesha Foundry.

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