Gas leak in Rensselaer shut down, caused by fallen icicle

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Updated: 2/17 10:38 pm

RENSSELAER, N.Y. – Firefighters had a tense few minutes Monday evening in Rensselaer after an icicle fell and cut into a natural gas line.

Around 5 p.m. on 1025 Third Street, firefighters say they were investigating a natural gas leak at the building and evacuated it along with those in the surrounding area.

Fire officials confirmed an icicle melted off a person's roof and actually ruptured the pipe.

"It was really scary to look out your window and you see like all these trucks and all these vehicles and all these people outside," said Joanne Farrell, who lives at the home.

Farrell said she didn't realize the pipe was leaking. Fortunately, officials say a firefighter in the area did notice the leak and alerted her, along with authorities. Crews were brought in and the pipe was sealed within a half hour.

Assistant Fire Chief Jay Corcoran this kind of thing happens more often than people may think.

"Everything is starting to melt, we'll get large icicles. Snow is starting to come off the roofs, so it's one of the problems we're having," said Corcoran.

Tony Zeppetelli with the Varden Brothers Roofing Company in Albany is third generation roofer. He recommends to always have help when you are clearing your roof. 

"When you have the really massive icicles hanging off the house you are holding back sometimes several tons of ice and snow. A lot of people don't realize that. You can get some of that off with a long pole, a long two by four if you're careful. I would always have help with me," said Zeppetelli.

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