’ x 10’ x 8’ structure
landed in the middle of Indian Boundary Road and the concussive force was
strong enough to damage the freestanding McDonald’s sign many feet above the
The McDonald’s lift
station services just about every business along Indian Boundary Road west
of Ind. 49, pumping wastewater uphill to the treatment plant on League Lane
lift station itself remains in operation, dented and dinged and exposed to
the elements, but still in operation. “The lift station is actually
working,” Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told the Chesterton Tribune.
“It’s unbelievable. The lift station is actually working. The control panel
is operational and we’re using a backup generator to power it. The explosion
instantaneously burned itself out, just used up all its oxygen.”
of the cause of the explosion was yet in its early stages today but both
O’Dell and Fire Chief John Jarka believe that gasoline somehow introduced
into the sanitary sewer system may be to blame.
A strong odor of
gasoline was initially noticeable at the lift station, O’Dell noted. But it
was also found to be present at other points in the line as the collection
crew began popping manhole covers up and down Indian Boundary Road.
Firefighters, meanwhile, were detecting varying levels of a flammable
substance presumed to be gasoline.
riding atop the flow of wastewater, could have gathered in the lift station,
O’’s control panel.
Samples have been
taken and will be tested at the Utility’s lab to confirm that the substance
Where and how the
gasoline may have entered the sanitary system is anybody’s guess at the
moment. O’Dell believes that only one thing is certain, or relatively so:
the substance appears to be originating on the north side of Indian Boundary
The Utility was
venting the system today and using its Vactor truck to flush the lines and
“move the gasoline along,” O’Dell said.
The McDonald’s was
closed this morning. No other businesses were and no evacuations were
Jarka, for his
part, was in contact with the Porter County Environmental Department and it
was his understanding that the latter would notify the Indiana Department of