(WLNS) – East Lansing Fire and Police Department, along with Consumers Energy, responded to a mid-morning gas leak near Abbot Rd., from a line underneath a demolition site.
The gas leak prompted an evacuation within just farther than a half mile radius around the leak around 10:30 a.m., which lasted for around an hour.
The demolition crew hit the line because it wasn’t marked, but the lien hit was only an inch and a quarter service line, which only provided natural gas to the building being demolished near the corner of Abbot Rd. and Grand River Ace.
The Consumers Energy crew only took close to an hour to find the line, and turn a valve to turn off the gas.
“We were fortunate that there was a valve that was accessible where all we had to do was stop the flow of gas to the damaged area,” Consumer Energy Spokesperson Terry Dedoes said.
As soon as the call was made by demolition crews, East Lansing Fire and Police shut down Abbot Rd. from Linden St. to Grand Rive Ave, but that was only the first step.
“We find out what the wind direction is, we evacuate the buildings that are around the gas leak to make sure that everybody is out of the buildings, make sure that their windows are closed,” East Lansing Fire Personal Information Officer Leo Allaire said.
Dedoes says because of the size of the line, and the fact that is wasn’t a main distribution line, made the process run faster.
“Otherwise you have to expose that line from a safe area which takes time,” Dedoes said.
As soon as the valve was shut off, Officials allowed people back in the area because the safety risk was no longer an issue.
“Natural gas is lighter than air so it dissipates quickly,” Dedoes said.
Despite the quick turn around, local businesses say these kind of situations are never anticipated or desired.
“To interrupt business, it kind of sucks, especially on a Monday,” Menna’s Joint Gus Brush said.
Brush says despite the caution around the area, customers didn’t seem weary to still have their lunch plans go through.
“After I think everything cleared up, we had a good crowd, some people were still willing to risk their safety to come in, ” Bruch said.
Consumers Energy worked on site through the day to retire the line and make sure no more gas could come through, but the investigation on why the line wasn’t marked will take a few days.