ALPENA TOWNSHIP - High natural gas demand could be the cause behind a gas leak that prompted firefighters to close Long Rapids Road for a time Tuesday night.
Firefighters responded after a nearby resident called 911 and reported hearing a roaring noise in the woods and smelling gas, Alpena Township Fire Department Capt. Ken Piper said. The leak was at the North Alpena gate station on Four Mile Road, where a relief valve was venting gas into the air.
Township firefighters blocked off the road as a precaution, and got help from the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center fire crew to monitor the air for gas on the other side of Thunder Bay River, Piper said. Township firefighters were on scene until a crew from DTE Energy arrived, and no evacuations were necessary.
Alpena County sheriff's deputies also assisted with traffic, and Bedrock Excavating offered the use of its barricades, Piper said. The barricades ultimately weren't needed.
These relief valves are located throughout the gas pipeline system and are designed to open if pipeline pressure exceeds a certain point, DTE spokeswoman Randi Berris said. The relief valve at the gate station was functioning properly, and may have tripped due to the high demand on the system caused by the bitterly cold temperatures.