Richmond homes evacuated, pavement “bubbles” from gas leak

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An early morning gas leak shut down a part of Forest Hill Avenue Thursday.

Pressure from a gas main rupture was strong enough to make water bubble on Forest Hill Avenue early Thursday, an emergency that closed a city block and evacuated two homes.

Shortly after 3:30 a.m., a strong smell of gas filled the air on the 5500 block of Forest Hill Avenue. Residents woke up to firefighters knocking on their doors three times, explaining a gas leak in the low explosive range threatened their homes.

"They told us it was an urgent situation," said Justin-Mychal White, one of the residents evacuated. "The smell was potent, and you knew it was bad when they said the street bas bubbling."

Firefighters shut down the area between Bliley Road and Westower Drive until 5:30 a.m. Richmond utility crews shut off the gas main, and the five evacuees were allowed back in their homes. It was not immediately clear what caused the incident.

Wind gusts from Thursday morning's fast-moving storm helped to clear the air of the gas. Traffic is now open to Forest Hill Avenue, but two Richmond Utility trucks remain at the site to find the cause of the leak.