Statement on South Main Street Gas Leak

At approximately 4:50 PM on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, a private contractor, performing a directional bore for a new fiber optics line to their building, struck Zehnder's of Frankenmuth's service lead supplying natural gas to the restaurant, bakery, and retail sales facility at 730 S. Main Street.  The mishap occurred in the parking lot adjacent to the facility's south side.  The crew immediately discontinued their work and contacted Consumers Energy and 911 to report the mishap.  Frankenmuth Assistant Fire Chief Dan Schneirla advised that a Consumers Energy worker arrived on scene within minutes of the report and it was determined that the building be completely evacuated for precautionary purposes and an area encompassing their perimeter parking lot and a portion of the 700 blk. S. Main Street (M83) be closed to motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic.  
 
Schneirla advised that Frankenmuth Fire, Police, Public Works Departments and mutual aid from Birch Run Fire Department closed Main Street, between Cass and Flint Streets, for nearly 90 minutes.  Schneirla noted that Zehnder's management and staff assisted public safety officials in directing guests away from the property, maintaining the evacuated area, and coordinating visitors awaiting the return to their parked vehicles inside the evacuation area.  The breezy southerly winds help to dissipate the strong hissing of gas from the underground leak.  
 
Consumers Energy crews had to bring in excavating equipment to stop the flow of gas after discontinuing electrical service to the building for fear of a spark igniting the natural gas vapors.  City Manager Bridget Smith shared that repairs took place overnight and Zehnder's staff was called in early this morning as they will be resuming normal business operations today.         
 
Schneirla was very thankful of the overall cooperation of facility staff, emergency responders, and the public in getting the emergency mitigated so repairs could be made.  He also thanked the Bridgeport Township Fire Department for their standby at their station while the event ensued.  It is heartening to see that multiple agencies and the public can work together to mitigate an emergency incident, fostering a sense of shared responsibility and community.