Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Vehicle strikes McElhinny House in Fairfield, causes gas leak
FAIRFIELD – A vehicle struck the McElhinny House in Fairfield causing a gas leak, but fortunately the woman living there was able to escape unharmed.
The incident occurred early Saturday morning, March 11. Norma Bauman, who has served as the house manager at McElhinny House since December 2021, said she was awakened at 6:15 a.m. by members of the Fairfield Fire Department and Fairfield Police Department, informing her that she had to evacuate the house because the gas line had been severed.
The authorities informed her that at 2 a.m. that morning, a man had struck the southwest corner of the house where the gas meter sits, and had smashed it enough to cause a gas leak in the home. This came as a surprise to Bauman, because she didn’t hear the collision even though she was sleeping in the home. Authorities told Bauman that the man did not report crashing into the building until 6 a.m. Bauman said she wasn’t told if the man had been charged with any crime, and as of Monday morning, the Fairfield Police Department had not issued any information about the incident.
Bauman said that when she learned how long the gas had been leaking, she felt fortunate to be alive.
“I was lucky I didn’t get gassed or blown up,” she said.
Bauman had to wait a few hours to enter the house, while the first responders opened all the doors and windows to let the gas dissipate. Members of Alliant Energy arrived on the scene and replaced the gas meter.
Bauman is also a member of the Fairfield Women’s Club, which maintains the building and uses it for special events, such as its upcoming Lasagna Lunch on Tuesday. Bauman said the club is planning to go ahead with its lunch as planned, and the members were hard at work Monday morning making preparations. The lunch will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at McElhinny House, located at 300 N. Court St. Bauman said the club has received more than 100 pre-orders, and the public is invited to drop in for lunch, too.
“You get a nice piece of lasagna with pie, salad and breadsticks,” she said. “It’s all homemade, and you can’t beat a homemade meal.”
Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org