Before being shooed away by fire department folks near the corner of Dennis and Fannin streets around noon yesterday, reader and art blogger Robert Boyd managed to snap a shot of the hole dug recently along the sidewalk. “You might be able to see that the fire fighters were wearing gas masks,” Boyd notes, surmising that the digging was related to the gas lines for the under-deconstruction former Mental Health and Mental Retardation Association building building a block further south (shown above); the digging apparently also caused the gas leak that triggered the shutdown of several nearby streets for part of the day. Boyd reports that the folks in the Art Supply on Main building, located between the digging and the demo site, “were totally cut off for most of [the day]. HFD showed up and asked up all to stay inside — we could get out of our parking lot, but not back in.“
The emergency crews departed mid-afternoon, shortly after Boyd snapped a more elevated shot of the fire engine (evocatively juxtaposed with a signal-red stop sign and a rare view of fall-esque Houston foliage):
- Previously on Swamplot: Mural-Slathered Former MHMRA Building Readies For The End
Photos: Robert Boyd
No one has a clue where the gas lines are in Midtown, or whether they are still used or not. When they were preparing the site for the substation on the north side of Tuam between Austin and LaBranch, a backhoe hooked a chain to a pipe, and started pulling on it. Imagine their surprise when gas started spewing out of it. A couple of hours later, Centerpoint and HFD managed to get it all shut down. The Centerpoint guy in charge told me that the lines were installed so long ago that there’s not really any maps.