South Richmond gas line break forces homes to evacuate - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

South Richmond gas line break forces homes to evacuate

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Things are back to normal after a gas line break in South Richmond forced officials to ask people in ten homes to evacuate in near freezing temperatures, Tuesday evening.

Nearly a dozen homes were vacated, as natural gas fumed through the 4,000 Block of Old Warwick Road. Crews worked to locate the break and shut off the gas, around 5 p.m.

Neighbors were given the "okay" to return home about an hour and a half later, after the leak was contained, and the gas was shut off.

However, more than a dozen people endured without heat as the line was fixed. Maurice Smithers is one of them. He lives across from the ruptured line and says he smelled gas as early as Monday.

"It was faint, but it still was there," said Smithers, who says he's using a space heater until his gas is restored.

Public utility officials say gas blew straight up from the street in one spot. Fire officials say they allowed people back into their homes as quickly as possible, because of the cold. Crews had to check the gas line for any residual gas pockets that might have still been a threat.

Utility officials say they suspect the break happened because the pipe was old and brittle, and not yet replaced with newer material.

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