Damages From Natural Gas Fire Reach $1 Million

MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) - Fire officials have said that damages from a spectacular natural gas fire in the Cleveland suburb of Maple Heights last week have reached about $1 million.

The damage list includes 10 buildings and 21 cars.

The fire department's report said that the blaze started when a contractor working on a storm sewer uncovered part of a water line.

Water suddenly started shooting from the line, leading the contractor to shut down water valves in the area, at the direction of a city water inspector.

The report said that water flowed from the line for about three hours, eroding earth beneath the gas line, which then cracked open and ignited.

Flames shot about 150 feet into the air before the fire was controlled.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)