Construction in busy Wildlight area halted briefly after gas line nicked

Evacuation ordered after gas line struck by crew in Yulee neighborhood

YULEE, Fla. – Sights and sounds of construction are typical in Nassau County's Wildlight community, but neighbors saw an unusual scene Monday morning when emergency vehicles flooded the area after a gas line was cut.

No one was injured and construction crews returned to work after about a 90-minute break.

Construction began in the Wildlight neighborhood, off A1A just east of Interstate 95, about three years ago. The community will eventually have about 1,000 homes, but it will take several years for the full development to be completed.

Brett Eakin’s family lives in one of the neighborhood’s first dozen homes. They moved in just last month and she was caught off guard by Monday's scene but was glad everyone was OK.

“Well, it’s never good news when you pull into your neighborhood and see you have an officer blocking the entrance, but apparently there is some sort of leak and we can’t return to our house right now,” Eakin said.

It wasn’t long before the road reopened and she was allowed back to her family's home, which she said they are crazy about.

“We really see the potential of the neighborhood -- just all of the possibilities between the retail and the restaurants and the close-knit community they’re trying to build,” Eakin said.

Restaurants, hotels and more are also coming to the Wildlight community, including a four-story, mixed-use building and a Marriott hotel.

Jack Enfinger, who is in charge of Wildlight construction, said they were pleased the scene was cleared before school at Wildlight Elementary dismissed so school traffic and buses could use their normal routes.

“The workers were installing some utilities and they nicked a gas line underground up on private property up on the job site,” Enfinger explained. “When they do that they have to take these security precautions.”

Alejandro Barbero, director of Strategic Development and Communication for Rayonier Inc., sent the following statement to News4Jax: 

The safety of our residents, visitors, on-site employees, and construction personnel is always Wildlight’s top priority. We are aware of an isolated incident that occurred today in which a gas line was struck on a private construction site. Local authorities were immediately alerted to the situation. Nassau County Sheriff’s Office and Nassau County Fire Rescue were able to quickly resolve the incident and ensure the safety of the community. Neither Wildlight Elementary School or Rayonier Inc.’s headquarters building was evacuated.

"We thank the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office and Nassau County Fire Rescue for their swift efforts to help ensure our community’s safety."