From the Firehouse: Be smart around natural gas

‘Gas odor ignored, close call for occupants’

I’m positive that none of you reading this would want to be the subject family or business of this headline. As you know, the Yankee Gas Co. ran new gas mains throughout the downtown area and out to the schools over the summer. Being that natural gas is “new to the neighborhood,” it may be a good idea to know what to do if you smell gas or detect a leak.

Signs and odors

  • Natural gas is odorless, so in the interest of safety, the utility injects a chemical called mercaptan to give it that “rotten egg” smell. If that smell is not coming from the fridge, call 9-1-1.
  • Gas travels through the pipelines under pressure, albeit low pressure, but a hissing sound is a clue that a leak may be in progress. If it’s not your pet snake, call 9-1-1.
  • Being that the gas is under pressure, note that paper, tissues, curtains, or other materials that are light and flowing may look like they are subject to a breeze; however, it may not be so if the window is closed! Call 9-1-1.
  • When in doubt get out, call 9-1-1 from outside or another premises, and get the fire department on their way. Move away from the building, too.

Working near the pipes

  • Call before you dig or excavate, even if it’s shallow. The universal Call Before You Dig (CBYD) number is 811. They will let you know if the lines are near your excavation.
  • Hand dig around all gas or other pipes that carry hazardous materials, including high-voltage electric.
  • Call the gas company if you have any questions or doubts. A two-minute phone call can prevent a disaster.

Important phone numbers:


Wilton Fire Marshal: 203-834-6249 (8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday)

Yankee Gas: 1-800-989-0270

Be deliberate, be smart, be vigilant and be safe.