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Punctured gas line shuts down businesses on McWilliams Road

CKFR closed the parking lot of Safeway for about a half-hour after the gas line in the parking lot was ruptured.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
CKFR closed the parking lot of Safeway for about a half-hour after the gas line in the parking lot was ruptured.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Construction workers building the new Safeway gas station on McWilliams Road in Bremerton struck a 2-inch gas line Wednesday afternoon and if it weren’t for the light breeze, the consequences may have been far worse.

“The wind is our friend today,” said Joe Repar, Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue (CKFR) battalion chief. “This can be really dangerous especially on moist and dreary days.”

Construction workers from Saybr Contractors Inc. of Puyallup were digging a trench for a communication line with a backhoe in the parking lot when they struck the gas line, causing Safeway to close for nearly a half-hour.

“It was the loudest bang you’ll ever hear,” said backhoe operator Nathan Walker. “I shut off the machine and jumped off.”

The paint line, which indicated where the gas line was supposed to be, didn’t match the gas source, Walker said.

“All the precautions were taken, the location of the gas line was off and when they were digging they didn’t expect it to be right there, causing a rupture to happen,” Repar said.

One of those precautions was to evacuate the Safeway in the shopping complex, where some shoppers abandoned full grocery carts.

Life-long Safeway shopper Jean Kachel from Bremerton was one of those shooed out of the building. Rather than leave her groceries behind, she chose to take what she had at that point and head to the check-out counter.

“I need what I got,” said Kachel as she was being helped out with her groceries. “If it snows tomorrow, I wanted to have food and to be able to do laundry.”

Kachel said before the incident, “the place was packed” when Safeway employees calmly began evacuating the shoppers.

Peter Cook, a courtesy clerk at Safeway, was helping Kachel unload her groceries into her vehicle after the incident.

He said the shoppers were told to go to the

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