Roof Collapse Causes Gas Leak in Illinois

Alton Chief Bernie Sebold said meters detected a natural gas leak.


June 24--ALTON -- Part of a roof collapsed Tuesday morning on an old warehouse building owned by an Alton potter, with the falling materials breaking a gas line.

"I am going to post it for demolition," said Alton building inspector Mike Harvey of the cavernous, 11,904-square-foot building, 603 Piasa St.

Alton Township Assessor's Office records show the building sits on .72 acres.

"The exterior is intact, but part of the roof did fall in, about 20 by 30 feet" in the northwest corner of the building, Harvey said.

He said the building, which dates to the mid- or late 1800s, has wooden mortise and tenon joints that support the roof, which failed. Harvey said there were boxes, some pottery and assorted junk inside the building.

Someone reported smelling natural gas in the area at about 8:40 a.m., with the Alton Fire Department, Ameren's gas and electric division workers and Harvey coming to the address.

Chief Bernie Sebold, of the Alton Fire Department, said firefighters' combustible gas meter showed natural gas had leaked in the area, but dissipated once owner Arthur Towata came to the address and opened the doors.

The contingent also noticed the partial, but "fairly significant roof collapse," Sebold said.

Ameren staff then turned off gas service to the building, and firefighters could find no sign of other gas leaking in the area.

Linda N. Weller may be reached at 518-208-6450 or on Twitter @Linda_Weller.

Copyright 2014 - The Telegraph, Alton, Ill.