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Crews fixing gas leaks at apartment complex after deadly explosion in Medina

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MEDINA, Ohio-- Crews are going building to building and apartment to apartment at the Medina Village Apartments Wednesday checking for gas leaks after a deadly fire last week.

Medina Fire Chief Robert Painter told FOX 8 News, at around 10 a.m. someone called the fire department about a smell of gas. Columbia Gas was also contacted.

According to Painter, gas leaks were found in 6 of the 8 units in one building as well as multiple other units in other buildings. It was discovered that some gas lines were no longer in use, but were never capped off.

FOX 8 News contacted management for Medina Village Apartments. Attorney Tom Cabral told us, "No comment at this time; the investigation is ongoing."

Crews are inspecting more than 140 apartments and, if necessary, fixing any issues. There are no evacuations, but some residents are choosing to leave.

An 18-year-old man was killed in last Thursday's explosion; two other people were injured. About 18 people were displaced.

Columbia Gas released the following statement on Wednesday:

"Our thoughts remain with the community and families dealing with the loss and impact of the tragic incident at 451 Springbrook Drive in Medina that occurred on Feb. 9, 2017. We want to assure our customers and the community of the safe operation of our system.

The State Fire Marshal called upon Columbia Gas of Ohio today to conduct the inspections of the customer-owned, inside house lines at the apartment complex. Columbia Gas is partnering with the State Fire Marshal and utilizing our resources to conduct thorough inspections of all inside house lines to ensure the safety of our customers and the community.

Inside house lines are customer-owned lines meaning customers are responsible for the maintenance and repair of those lines. In the event Columbia Gas crews identify a safety issue with an inside house line, our crews will shut off the gas service and the customer or property owner will need to hire a qualified plumber to make the necessary repairs. Once house lines are repaired, Columbia Gas crews return to restore gas service and at that time, Columbia Gas crews will conduct a safety inspection to ensure the appliances and house lines are operating safely.

The day the incident occurred, Columbia Gas crews conducted a thorough investigation of our natural gas main and service lines that serve the area and confirmed that they are safe. While the cause of the incident remains under investigation, our natural gas main lines and service lines were not the source of this incident. We will continue to support the State Fire Marshal as they continue their investigation."

Columbia Gas gave the following tips:

· If a customer smells an odor of natural gas, they should leave the area immediately, move to a safe location and call 911 and Columbia Gas of Ohio at 800-344-4077.
· Qualified contractors or plumbers should be contacted for maintenance or repair work on natural gas appliances and house lines.
· Always call 811 at least two business days before beginning an excavation project to have all underground utilities located. It is a free service that ensures the safety of our community.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the Drake family with medical and funeral expenses. Click here to read more about it.

Read more, here.

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