Natural gas leak forces downtown area to evacuate
September 27, 2013
Construction crews ruptured a natural gas line causing a gas leak and prompting authorities to evacuate employees from businesses on Main Street in the downtown area about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Main Street, between 4th and 5th streets, reopened about 5:35 p.m.
Windsor police Sgt. Robert Shainline said Xcel Energy had to do more work to patch the street after Main Street reopened. He said the area was going to be out of gas for about four hours, but businesses and residents were allowed back in the area.
Traffic was diverted onto Walnut Street during the three-plus hours that Main Street was closed.
Windsor Police Chief John Michaels said Xcel had to get to the shut-off valve to shut off the gas supply before Main Street could reopen.
"This is a heavily populated area with businesses. At this time of day, they were all open," Michaels said.
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The gas leak was not flood related. Crews were working on a water line replacement at 4th and Main streets when the rupture occurred.
Michaels said drivers must learn to follow the roadblocks and not try to go through them, as some of them did during the gas leak.
The staff at Windsor Veterinary Clinic, 415 Main St., sat in the grass on 4th Street with eight dogs and eight cats during the gas leak.
"They got everyone out within like two minutes," said Sharon DeNayer, practice manager at the clinic.
"We practice fire drills periodically, and it's a good thing that we do. We had to evacuate during the tornado (in 2008), and when they had the fire in the building next door to us we had to evacuate."
Dr. Robin Downing, owner of the clinic, said the last time she had to leave because of a gas leak was in 1998.