A car running into a house prompted a massive response by Jamestown emergency personnel shortly after noon Tuesday.
The white Chevrolet Suburban veered off the road and into the side of a house at 245 Fairmount Ave., between Cook and Catlin avenues, at 12:06 p.m. The driver of the vehicle, whose name has not been released, was taken from the scene to WCA Hospital by Alstar Ambulance and was flown to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for treatment of his injuries.
The Jamestown Fire Department, Jamestown Police Department, Alstar Ambulance and other emergency personnel responded to the scene.
According to Capt. Robert Samuelson of the Jamestown Police Department, the vehicle was being driven east on Fairmount Avenue when it crossed the sidewalk near Cook Avenue, went off the road, hit a street sign, crossed the intersection, went into the yard of a house and finally into a neighboring house.
Officials report that no one was inside the home at the time of the crash. When emergency responders arrived on the scene, a strong odor of natural gas could be smelled in the air because a gas line had been hit during the collision.
"The car hit right where the gas line enters the house," said Don Woodfield, Jamestown Fire Department battalion chief.
Members of the Jamestown Police Department spray a vehicle that was involved in an accident with a house after the accident caused a gas leak Tuesday.
P-J photo by Andrew Carr
The neighboring houses were evacuated due to the leak, said Woodfield.
"I sent in guys to search the house and we evacuated the neighboring structures as a precaution," he said.
A perimeter was set up and crews from National Fuel responded to shut down the gas to the home. The lines needed to be dug up in order to be shut off. The Jamestown Fire Department and National Fuel worked for almost an hour in order to get the gas line contained.
"They couldn't find the street shutoff," said Woodfield. "Whether it had been buried, cemented in or because there was so much water, they needed to dig up the lines in order to contain it."
Firefighters also sprayed the vehicle with water during the incident as a precautionary measure in order to make sure no explosions occurred.
"The car engine was still hot, so we sprayed it to cool it down to eliminate ignition sources," Woodfield said.
The home has been posted not to be occupied and will have to be evaluated due to structural damage, Woodfield said. The driver of the vehicle was taken to WCA Hospital before being flown by Starflight to ECMC for surgery. The man's condition is not known at this time, though officials said he could have internal injuries.
Charges are pending the result of an investigation into the incident. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office Drug Recognition Expert assisted on the scene.
"This was a very very dangerous situation and we are glad that no one else was injured," said Samuelson.
Samuelson commended the coordination between responders in the fast resolution to the situation.
"The coordination of National Fuel, the Board of Public Utilities, JPD, Jamestown Fire Department and the Drug Recognition Expert shows how these entities work together," he said.