The continuous hissing was uncomfortably noticeable, the odor of natural gas equally unbearable and the headaches inherited by motorists along North Second Street in Machesney Park downright painful.
Early Monday afternoon, while working on routing improvements to a service road along North Second, a back hoe struck a gas main planted about three feet under ground.
Natural gas spewed immediately from the main, and continued to do so for the next three hours. During that time, North Second was shut down between Sycamore and Harlem, and traffic was rerouted through a residential area.
Even that didn't go smoothly, as North Park Fire Chief Steve Ferdinand explains. "That involved rerouting some semi traffic, and one of the semis clipped a utility pole, and took a transformer down, and as we're told there was a live wire on top of the truck, and even a gas leak, a gasoline leak as well."
All in all, 25 customers were left in the dark, for more than seven hours. ComEd had power fully restored by 10 p.m. Monday.