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Gas leak prompts evacuation at Ashfield House

ASHFIELD — Eighteen apartments inside the Ashfield House were evacuated Monday afternoon after a resident detected gas odors and a gas company official later discovered a leaky gas regulator on a 1,000-gallon propane tank.

When the fuel company worker discovered the regulator was broken, he began shouting for everyone to vacate the building.

Fire Chief Delmar Haskins pulled the fire alarm at about 3:10 p.m. and residents were evacuated while the valve was shut off and replaced. He said everyone was able to go back inside at about 4:15 p.m.

The smell of propane was reported at 2:43 p.m. Haskins said the leak was not very noticeable at first, but Dead River Oil Co. sent someone to check on the tank while Haskins stayed on site. The tank regulator “started leaking in earnest” about 45 minutes after the initial call, Haskins said.

The public housing apartment building on Main Street is run by the Franklin Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and the agency’s Executive Director Robin Sherman said Tuesday that the building has since been looked at by the plumbing and gas inspector of the Franklin Cooperative Building Inspections Program, who determined that a plumbing inspection wasn’t necessary.

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