First reported 9/4/2009 12:21 p.m.

Construction crews working near the intersection of Harvard and Marengo ruptured a gas line Friday morning, and though the fumes could be smelled several blocks away, emergency crews said nearby residents were in no danger.

Deputy Fire Chief Bob McDermott said members of the department monitored the air quality in the neighborhood and found the natural gas didn’t register on their handheld meters. That said, McDermott acknowledged the odor was quite prevalent. Residents closer to the break likely heard the natural gas hissing from the fractured pipe.

Firefighters stationed about a block from the where the break occurred pointed out to a reporter at the scene that the noise was easily audible, even from that distance.

“You can hear it,” McDermott said.

No one was evacuated from the area, but fire crews did check on nearby homes. There was no threat of an explosion, said McDermott. For the gas to be ignited by a spark, it must be combined – in the right proportion – with oxygen. That combination never materialized.

The 2-inch plastic pipe that was struck serves the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Marengo, according to McDermott. Service to those areas was largely uninterrupted, but a spokesperson for Nicor said that as of 11:45 a.m., four homes would temporarily not receive gas until the line is repaired.

Nicor received a call about the broken line just before 8 a.m., and crews were on the scene by 8:20 a.m., according to spokesman Richard Caragol.

Jim Amelio, a resident engineer with Christopher Burke Engineering, the firm hired by the village to oversee the road repairs, said he expected Nicor would have the line fixed by the end of the day Friday. As for the broken gas line’s impact on the overall construction schedule, Amelio said it should amount to only a day.

“It’s really insignificant in the grand scheme of the project,” Amelio said.

Alleged theft of construction materials

Work similar in scope to the Harvard project is taking place along Jackson, and on Sept. 2 police were called to that job site for an alleged theft.

Bruno Grinis, 41, and April Tadla, 30, were both arrested on felony theft charges for allegedly taking $600 worth of material. According to a police department report on the incident, Grinis and Tadla, both of Chicago, told authorities they planned to sell the items – two metal pipes and two man hole frames – as scrap. Construction workers in the area allegedly interrupted the couple in the midst of their heist and the items were recovered.