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Gas line break prompts evacuation in the Patch

TURNERS FALLS — Contractors working in the Patch neighborhood near the Eleventh Street bridge Monday struck a gas line, prompting a small-scale evacuation.

The danger was less than the pervasive odor suggested, according to firefighters.

Turners Falls Fire Chief Robert Escott Jr. said the odor added to the otherwise odorless gas as a danger sign made its way into homes but the gas did not.

The contractors were connecting a house service and broke a line under the street, Escott said, but because they were working in a pit, the natural gas dissipated into the air.

“We went to every house with a meter and checked for explosive levels and we got zero readings everywhere we went, so we didn’t even get a small amount in houses,” Escott said. “The smell did exactly what it’s supposed to, it alerts people that there may be gas.”

The incident occurred shortly after 11 a.m. and Escott said a couple houses in the immediate area of the break between G and H streets were evacuated but residents were quickly allowed to return.

The gas company crimped the line and repaired it, Escott said, but it may have taken some time to re-establish gas service as each meter had to be shut off then re-opened.

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