ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Near-record amounts of snow this year mean a lot of Alaskans are shoveling snow off their roofs, to avoid structural damage -- but natural gas provider Enstar says in the process, some home and business owners are unknowingly putting themselves in even more danger.
Enstar says since February it’s received 84 calls about gas leaks caused by snow and ice damage.
The gas meter outside one church in Midtown was completely buried under hard-packed snow, Friday. While the meter was subsequently cleared of snow, it would have taken a pretty long time for first responders to reach the emergency shut-off valve, said Enstar spokesperson John Sims.
Added stress from the weight of snow and ice can break a gas line and cause a leak, according to Sims.
“We have had some very significant incidents where this has broken, and we’ve had high pressure blowing out in the air and we couldn’t access the shutoff valve,” Sims said. “There were a couple buildings that had to be evacuated.”