Fiery gas line rupture on Walnut Grove burns worker, stops traffic


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An MLGW worker was transported to Regional One Medical Center Wednesday morning after a gas line ruptured along Walnut Grove, sending flames shooting up from the street.

Lt. Wayne Cooke with Memphis Fire Department said an MLGW crew breached a gas line while digging at Walnut Grove and Fernway in East Memphis.

It took them around 8 hours to turn off gas to the line.

Walnut Grove at Fernway

The MLGW worker who was hurt suffered first- and second-degree burns to his arms and first-degree burns to his face but is expected to be okay, Cooke said.

Traffic is blocked on Walnut Grove between Mendenhall and Fernway.

Neighbors on Fernway watch MLGW crews work

Neighbors said MLGW has been working on a water leak in that area of Walnut Grove since February, but they weren’t sure what happened Wednesday.

“They were moving across Walnut Grove. I don’t know why to find another leak or something, and apparently, they hit a gas line,” said Chris Johnston.

Crews dug holes on either side of the ruptured line and, at around 6.30 p.m., were able to cut off the gas.

The fire immediately started dying, and firefighters used a water hose to put what was left of it.

A Memphis firefighter puts out what is left of the fire

MLGW said repairs are expected to go into the evening. Drivers are encouraged to re-route travel to avoid the area until 10 p.m.

There are currently no outages related to this event, but MLGW said service may be interrupted to make necessary repairs.

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