All-clear given to Cypress residents evacuated after gas leak

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

CYPRESS, Texas - Residents of a Cypress neighborhood have been allowed back in their homes after being evacuated when a pipeline busted and leaked natural gas.

The sound of thousands of pounds of natural gas spewing into the air in a Cypress neighborhood could be heard for blocks after a pipeline was ruptured as a contract crew worked in the area on Thursday afternoon. 

Earlier Sky 2 was over the scene near the Windwood Subdivision near Grant Road and Lakewood Forest Drive until the Sheriff's Office declared the area a no-fly zone.

Homeowner Vicki Tillotson was at home when the rupture occured.

"I was working in my kitchen and I heard a loud 'pssss' sound,' Tillotson said. "I looked out my blinds and I saw a bunch of men just scatter. A couple of them got in their trucks and they're splitting. And I said, 'Hell, if they're leaving I'm leaving.'"

Firefighters say members of a contract construction crew were working in the area when around 4:15 p.m. the 30-inch natural gas line was ruptured.  The line is owned by Gulfsouth Pipeline, which is a subsidiary of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners.

"The neighborhood around the leak (was) evacuated for safety precautions," Boardwalk spokesman Joe Hollier said.

To clear the pipeline faster separate crews released natural gas from a valve upstream.

The busted pipeline was just a short distance from a school. Parents are thankful this didn't happen next week when classes are scheduled to begin.

"I live on the other side of town," parent Betty Gutierrez said. "For this to happen when school is happening, it kind of concerns us as parents who live far (away)."

"Yeah, it gets your attention," adds Vicki Tillotson. "Especially when it's like right down the street and all the men are running."

Now that the line is cleared of natural gas, Gulfsouth will move in and conduct an investigation and eventually repair the line.?

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