Palos Hills residents get results from I-Team about gas leak

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Residents in Palos Hills, Ill. say a gas leak has been plaguing their block for years. (WLS)

ABC 7 I-Team Investigation
Residents in Palos Hills, Ill. said a gas leak was plaguing their block for years.

Those residents said they turned to the ABC 7 I-Team for results, because they say Nicor failed to fix what they call an "ongoing gas leak."

The I-Team found that gas leaks are more common than people may think and may be in your neighborhood.

One resident, Mike Conroy, who contacted the I-Team, uses a gas detector to illustrate the silent invisible yet scary gas leak, on his block.

"When you walk across the street you can smell gas," he said. "You have to shut the window and the fan off cause it sucks in gas fumes," Conroy said.

Conroy and neighbors said they have been dealing with this gas leak for almost three years. They called the I-Team when they couldn't get results.

"It's like you smell gas so you are waiting for something to explode or something like that," Lenka Macakova, a Palos Hills resident, said.

A Nicor spokesperson disputed the claim that residents called for three years, but admitted there was one customer call about the leak, but none since August 2014. Nicor said the leak was repaired.

Then in June of 2015, Nicor said it received a call from the local fire department after residents complained. Nicor responded and made these markings but residents said they still smelled gas.

"Anyone walking down the street or driving by throws a cigarette out , I don't know what would happen with that," Conroy said.

While most gas leaks don't pose an immediate threat to health and safety, environmental groups are concerned about the waste of gas and the impact to the environment.

In a 2014 study, the Environmental Defense Fund found one gas leak every three miles, in the areas of the city and suburbs where they drove and tested. Since most areas tested were in the city, many were Peoples Gas not Nicor.

Peoples Gas said it's improving old infrastructure to reduce leaks and has already finished 700 miles of new plastic mains.

As for the Nicor gas leak in Palos Hills, Conroy said you can smell "very strong noxious fumes" when the wind is blowing.

Nicor declined an on-camera interview but in a statement said, "Nicor Gas takes all leak calls seriously and was made aware last Thursday, through the media, of a persistent natural gas odor in the area...our crews investigated the site Friday, found a leak and made repairs Monday. The safety of our people, our pipeline, and the public is always our number-one priority."

After the I-Team got involved, workers on the scene, the leak, Nicor says, capped.

"Guess who is on our front steps today? To fix the gas leak? It's Nicor, thank you Channel 7 you are the best," Conroy said.

Nicor said customers should recognize the distinct smell of natural gas and immediately contact them.

To report a Nicor gas leak call 888-Nicor4U (1-888-642-6748) 24-hours a day, to report any natural gas odors or issues.

For more information on Peoples Gas, head to the company's website.
Related Topics:
newsI-Teamiteaminvestigationgas leakPalos Hills
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