Gas leak at Hemlock Semiconductor closes road Friday morning - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Gas leak at Hemlock Semiconductor closes road Friday morning

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(01/03/14) - It's back open now, but earlier Friday, cold weather forced firefighters to close a Mid-Michigan road.

Geddes Road between Orr and Graham was blocked while crews worked on a natural gas leak at Hemlock Semiconductor. That's in Saginaw County's Thomas Township.

The gas leak did not impact HSC's regular operations, and it didn't force anyone out of their home. It just meant a detour for workers and a very cold morning for firefighters and utility workers.

Bone chilling barely begins to describe what it felt like Friday morning outside Hemlock Semiconductor in Saginaw County. Now imagine trying to work in this weather.

"We have a gas leak on a 6 inch main that separated probably due to the cold," said Mike Cousins, Thomas Township Fire Chief.

It's the first time this winter the Thomas Township Fire Department has had this kind of call.

"You get a frost that starts to go deeper in the ground and cause some heaving and uneven areas and it starts to affect water lines, gas lines, anything that's underground like that starts to be impacted," Cousins said.

There were two main concerns on this day when you could see your breath. Get the leak fixed - and make sure everyone stayed safe.

"What we want to try to do is keep our guys warm. Rotating people with crews and blocking roads," Cousins said.

The leak forced Geddes Road in front of the plant to close. That forced workers to take a detour, and left people living nearby by with questions.

"So they see a lot of lights and they want to know what's going on," said Tom McIntyre, Saginaw County 911 director.

That's where the Saginaw County 911 Emergency Notification system comes in. Friday morning, it sent out phone, text and email messages to people in the area - who have already signed up - giving them all the answers they needed.

"We've only got about 10,000 people signed up in the three years and we'd like to see that double," McIntyre said.

To visit Saginaw County's 911 site, click HERE.

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