Church Road reopened after Guilderland gas leak

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Church Road has reopened after a gas leak was found in Guilderland.

The road was closed to traffic at 4:41 p.m. Police said a backhoe hit a line on private property while digging.

For David Lawler, the headache has lasted for more than a year. He said a construction site across the street from his Church Road home has been undergoing work.

“Water mitigation, trees, erosion,” he explained.

He said the site has caused several issues, and Friday night, they were at the center of a natural gas leak.

“This has been a battle for at least a year now, and this is just the icing on the cake,” Lawler said.

After the line was hit, police said natural gas was released for hours. Officials evacuated several homes and curtailed traffic while crews worked to fix the leak.

“Thank God natural gas is lighter than air,” Westmere Fire Chief Henry Smith said. “It dissipates into the air.”

But it was a different story when storms were headed to the area. Albany County Deputy Emergency Manager and Meteorologist Howard Altschule was on scene tracking the weather.

He monitored the wind shift, incoming rain and kept an eye on the potential for lightning.

“There were about four cloud-to-ground lightning strikes within about two miles of here, so we want to keep the first responders safe, also,” Altschule said.

After three hours, crews shut off the main gas line stopping the leak. But the problem for Lawler isn’t over.

He’s hoping his temporary neighbors will be more careful from now on.

“Hope we can resolve this because I’d like to live the way I lived before he started this,” Lawler said.

National Grid had to wait a few hours before their line crew arrived. The line crew is the one to clamp the pipe and stop the leakage.

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