Feb 21, 2016 9:30 AM

Keene faces a second - though brief - problem with natural gas system

KEENE - Another gas mixture problem affecting the downtown resulted in a brief rash of emergency calls to the fire department on Sunday morning, but firefighters said the situation returned to normal quickly.

Fire Chief Mark Howard said Liberty Utilities reported a problem around 8 a.m. with higher-than-normal BTU levels that fed into the system that serves downtown homes and businesses. Multiple calls came in from people reporting high flames on their appliances, he said. Unlike a similar event in December, no one was reporting the smell of gas, he said.

The fire department checked on multiple buildings including stores on Ash Brook Road, Railroad and Main streets as well as the Food Co-op. Howard said Liberty Utilities said that new safety features added since December minimized the problem and the gas mixture was restored to normal within about an hour.

Howard said residents served by gas who do smell an odor or see a higher than normal flame on their appliances should leave the building and call 911.

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