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Reporter's Blog: Broken pipe blamed for plume of steam in downtown St. Louis

Reporter's Blog: Broken pipe blamed for plume of steam in downtown St. Louis

by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on April 5, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 9:25 PM

A few people shrieked by me going the opposite direction as I approached the man holes spewing steam on 11th Street between Lucas and Convention. 

“What is going on?” they wanted to know without getting too close to the action.

“A pipe rupture from what I understand,” I told them.

I quickly found an iron worker who knew exactly what was happening.  He was getting ready to start a job feet away from the man holes when he noticed a little steam rising out.

”Normally a little bit comes out and we just talked about the high pressure steam and then there she blows,” Steve Morganthaler told me.

The “she” Morganthaler was talking about was an expansion joint.  

Since no one was hurt and the damage isn’t widespread, I was really focused on the spectacle out there.  Trigen, the thermal energy company that provides steam to about 90 downtown businesses, shut off the valves and by around 9 a.m. the steam was just about gone.

The next challenge is to figure out why this happened and to fix it. 

“It’s never a good site first thing in the morning,” Trigen VP/GM Dan Dennis told me.  “It takes the place of coffee.”

The fire department says we can expect this section of street to remain closed for at least a couple of weeks for repairs.

Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV.

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