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The Longest Year
MY LONGEST year as a gas company supervisor started with a gas leak resulting in a death. Emotions ran rampant and questions flooded my mind: “Did we do everything ...

William Garvey, Writer/Photographer; Damage Prevention Supervisor for a gas company in Michigan


This is it! I thought

MY LONGEST year as a gas company supervisor started with a gas leak resulting in a death. Emotions ran rampant and questions flooded my mind: “Did we do everything right?” “What else could we have done?” “What caused this leak?” The following fall we finally discovered that the fire was caused by damage to an old gas line.

In the summer of that year we received a call from 9-1-1—a call requiring the cooperation of fire and gas company crews. A local business was on fire and there was a strong smell of gas in the area. When we arrived, we cut the electric wires and shut the gas off to the building. A firefighter informed us a house around the block was on fire. We began a search for gas leaks and every home we checked was full of gas. In the next ten minutes we cut the power and turned off the gas to ten homes. As we worked I prayed, “Lord, give me strength.”

When a young girl approached and asked if we could get her wheelchair-bound grandpa out of his house, we went into rescue mode. Inside the home, packed with people, gas smells permeated the air. “Get out!” I shouted. “Now!” Then I grabbed the man in the wheelchair and went out through the garage. As we cleared the home, I heard a loud boom and was thrown against the wall of the home.

This is it! I thought. But God wasn’t ready to take us home yet. Then another house exploded. Again, praise God, no one was hurt.

Down the road I saw my boss. He was followed by an electric crew. They’d shut off the gas and electric to all the homes in the area.

This extensive gas leak was caused by a directional boring crew, who’d hit our gas main, along with the underground sewer line, causing gas to come up through people’s toilets and drains.

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” (Psalms 29:11)

As the firefighters finished their search, the word came that all was safe. We ended up losing three houses and a business, but by working side-by-side with firefighters everyone went home safe. Without our combined training and skill coupled with God’s strength, the outcome could easily have included many fatalities.


I thank you, God, for your help and for our safety. Thank you for peace you give me as I continue to do the best job I can in difficult situations.

Other Items In The Battlefields and Blessings Series

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