Squad 75 and 702 (D/C Loverdi) responded to a Natural Gas leak on the 300 Block of N. Read Ave. Police and the Fire Department were alerted by a NJ American Water worker who found the odor coming from the dwelling. 702 arrived confirming an active leak in the basement and requested the response of South Jersey Gas. Squad 75 located the nearest hydrant (5th/Read) and the firefighters made entry into the basement in full personal protective equipment. The gas meter was located at the bottom of the steps and quickly secured by the fire personnel. A search of the premise was conducted with negative results, but there was evidence of foul play. Chief Dailey, Sgt. Murray, and Ptl. Wooton of the Runnemede Police Department were alerted of our findings. Positive pressure ventilation was placed into service bringing the interior back to safe levels. The meter was locked out by South Jersey Gas and Police began their quick and diligent investigation. The suspect (a neighbor) was quickly detained and linked to a few other similar burglaries.
The extremely dangerous level of Natural Gas saturation inside the home could have resulted in an explosion. This could have had a very tragic end, but fortunately early detection led to fast action. Let this be a reminder to all, any odor of gas and/or suspicious activity needs to be reported to 911 immediately. Great job by all involved!