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    Copper Thieves Cause Gas Leak

    Copper Thieves Cause Gas Leak

    by Thomas MacMillan | Nov 9, 2011 12:57 pm

    The morning after she ordered a vacant house on Saltonstall Avenue boarded up because thieves were making off with copper piping, Livable City Initiative staffer Laurie Lopez returned to find a funny smell in the air. Bandits had burgled one pipe too many—and started a gas leak.

    The gas company responded, then quickly called the fire and police departments, which evacuated neighboring buildings while the leak was contained.

    At noon Wednesday, the fire department was just wrapping up its operation. Lopez stood behind the a yellow tape in jeans and work boots and recounted what had happened.

    She said she had been receiving complaints from neighbors that people were looting the vacant house, a electric blue three-story building (pictured above). She showed up on Tuesday with a cop and did a walk-through. It was clear that people had been going in and stealing stuff from the house, which she said was just reclaimed by the bank.

    Lopez put in a work order to have a crew come and board up the place. They were scheduled to do so on Wednesday. Lopez showed up early—around 11 a.m.—to make sure there was no one inside. She smelled gas.

    She walked around the back of the house and the smell was even stronger. She called the gas company. A staffer arrived and immediately told her to back away, and called the fire department.

    Someone must have broken into the house overnight and stolen more piping, causing the leak, Lopez said.

    Firefighters evacuated the houses on either side of the home while the gas company stopped the leak.

    Lopez said the house had been vacant for only about three weeks. That’s long enough for thieves to break in and start stripping off anything of value left inside. “They smell it out,” she said.

    by Thomas MacMillan | Nov 9, 2011 12:57 pm

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