Natural gas leak forces multi-block evacuation in Mpls.

5:49 PM, Dec 15, 2010   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- First responders have evacuated at least 3 square blocks of Minneapolis after the discovery of a significant natural gas leak.

Centerpoint Energy spokesperson Becca Virden tells KARE 11 that reports of the leak triggered an emergency response plan shortly after 10 a.m.. Minneapolis firefighters and police officers went door to door in the area of 13th Avenue South and Franklin, telling people to leave their homes and businesses.  

Everyone from Franklin Avenue between 11th and 14th Avenues, and between 13th and 19th Streets were ordered to leave the area.

All evacuees were asked to leave on foot, and not to flip light switches or use cell phones to avoid igniting the natural gas.

Shortly before noon crews were able to locate and isolate the source of the leak, which Virden said was coming from an exterior main gas line.

An incident commander on the scene said the concern was that a large flow of gas was moving through the sewers, which is a situation that can lead to an explosion. Crews dug a major trench to vent the natural gas into the air.

Emergency responders who were monitoring air quality gave the all clear around 12:30 p.m., and began allowing residents and business people back in.

Metro Transit buses were brought in to keep evacuees warm while they wait for repairs. Virden said she expects repairs to take approximately two hours.

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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