Lombard gas line severed

Police tape blocks off the scene where a brick wall partially collapsed today in the rear of the Illinois Employment & Training Center building in the Eastgate Center strip mall in Lombard. (Jos¿¿ M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune / February 13, 2011)

Emergency crews were on-scene after the partial breakdown of a brick wall outside an Illinois unemployment office in Lombard severed a gas line this morning.

Crews from the natural gas utility Nicor, Inc., were called to the facility at 837 S. Westmore Ave. in Lombard, at 10:12 a.m. by Lombard fire officials after a portion of the wall fell and the line was broken, said Nicor spokesman Richard Caragol. The building is a state unemployment office, Caragol said; earlier reports were that it was an Illinois Secretary of State drivers license facility.

A Nicor crew was there within about 20 minutes but was unable to shut off gas service because the gas meter to the facility is in the basement. A second crew with equipment to turn off gas service via an underground shutoff valve shut the gas off about 11:30 a.m., Caragol said.

Emergency officials were blocking off access to the area because of the gas leak, Caragol said.

Officials said no one was in the building and no one was injured. Officials said snow and ice caused the damage to the brick wall near the back of the building. Onlookers reported that there was the smell of gas in the air and that fans were being used to further disperse the gas.

There was no information immediately available about whether the office would be open on Monday.

Anne Halston contributed to this report.

chicagobreaking@tribune.com