Fort Mill man ruptures gas line during search for missing ferret


FORT MILL, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) — A Fort Mill dad was searching for his daughter’s pet when something went wrong. Next thing you know the Fire Department, Sheriff’s Deputies and gas company were at his door.

The Winger’s have two ferret’s which they keep in the bathroom while their house is being renovated. However around 1:00 a.m. Chris Winger’s daughter realized that one of her ferrets was missing.

“I figured well the ferret probably went down the pipe and got stuck in the flex pipe. What we’d do is go dig it up and rescue her,” said Chris Wenger.

Two month old Mika had escaped through a drain pipe. Winger followed the pipe under the house and into the backyard where he decided to dig it up but the pipes were under a bush.

“So I was cutting down some roots, just cutting through it, I said okay we’re almost good to go just one more root here to cut through and I hit it and the root exploded with gas. Just gas everywhere.”

Fort Mill Firefighters were called out and secured the ruptured gas line. York County Natural Gas also responded and repaired the line. Winger said firefighters called York County Sheriff’s Deputies to the scene to make sure nothing criminal was taking place.

“I was very sad for a bit but when everyone started to show up, I was starting to get more hopeful that she would still be alive and not think of the worst,” said Portia Winger.

The Winger’s were evacuated from their home until the gas line was repaired and gas levels in the home were checked. They were allowed back in around 4:00 a.m.

Winger continued his search for Mika the next day. He found her at the end of a pipe in the backyard. Sadly, Mika didn’t survive.

Winger said he wishes he could’ve done more to save his daughter’s pet and that he’d gone about it a little differently.

“So if we had proper light when looking around and had a different type of shovel it’s a good chance I would have seen it and recognized it as a pipe instead of mistaking it for a root,” said Winger.

York County Natural Gas recommends always calling 811 before digging.

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