Chesterton Tribune



Witness describes lift station explosion

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We now have an eyewitness account of the explosion of the McDonald’s lift station shed early Wednesday morning, filed with the Chesterton Police Department.

The incident occurred at 12:55 a.m., according to an eyewitness parked in the Taco Bell lot across the street from the McDonald’s on Indian Boundary Road. “There was a big fire ball and debris flew everywhere,” he advised, including landing on his vehicle’s windshield, leaving a seven-inch horizontal crack in it.

Police estimated damage at $1,000.

Town Engineer Mark O’Dell now believes that the explosion occurred after gasoline infiltrated the sanitary sewer system, apparently from the BP Amoco property. Gasoline vapors then collected downstream in the lift station, possibly mixing with methane from the sewage, until they were ignited by a spark thrown by the facility’s control panel.

BP’s sewer service lateral has since been plugged while BP has retained a contractor to investigate and mitigate.

The lift station itself has remained operational despite the violent destruction of its housing shed.


Posted 6/27/2014