Columbus firefighters evacuate Washington Street area after gas line was hit

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Columbus firefighters evacuated a number of businesses and homes on the east side of the 500 block of Washington Street after a construction crew struck a natural gas line while excavating on a vacant lot between Washington and Jackson streets.

At approximately 9:33 a.m. Thursday, Columbus firefighters responded to a report of a gas odor investigation in the 600 block of Jackson Street, said Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman.  When firefighters arrived, they found the line appeared to be a 1-inch natural gas line that supplied several business on the east side of Washington Street. Occupied businesses and residents there were temporarily evacuated during the incident, Wilson said.

CenterPoint Energy arrived a short time later and isolated the leak and stopped the flow of gas. Firefighters and CenterPoint Energy representatives used gas metering devices to check for the presence of gas inside buildings near where the line had been struck. Firefighters also utilized ventilation fans to ventilate businesses that were affected before occupants were allowed to return, Wilson said.

Gas service on east side of Washington Street will be out of service for an unknown period of time while repairs are made. No injuries were reported. Firefighters were at the scene for approximately an hour, Wilson said.