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Huge Stone Falls From Train Embankment, Ruptures Gas Line

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A large stone fell from a CTA train embankment near 16th and State streets and ruptured a natural gas line on Feb. 13, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

A large stone fell from a CTA train embankment near 16th and State streets and ruptured a natural gas line on Feb. 13, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A large piece of stone fell from a railroad embankment in the South Loop on Monday, rupturing a gas line and prompting the evacuation of a nearby coffee shop.

The massive piece of stone fell Monday morning from a wall supporting a railroad overpass just north of 16th Street along State Street.

As CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, it was fortunate the stone fell between the railroad embankment and the wall of a nearby building, so no one was injured when it fell to the ground. But it hit a gas line on the way down, triggering a hazardous materials response.

Police shut down State Street between 16th Street and Roosevelt Road while the scene was secured.

The nearby Overflow coffee shop was briefly evacuated after the stone ruptured the gas line.

A coffee shop employee said he wasn’t surprised so much by the size of the stone as the fact it fell from a rail embankment.

“It takes those to hold up a train and, so, you’ve got to have a heavy structure, heavy material,” Overflow employee Justin Buege said. “But the fact that it fell makes you weary of the structural integrity of it.”

A Canadian National Railway crew that hauled away the stone estimated it weighed 1,600 pounds.

Peoples Gas officials said service to the building affected by the ruptured gas line would be out until sometime Monday evening.

One of the tracks that runs over the embankment was shut down after the stone fell from the embankment, but that track was up and running again by 5 p.m.

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