Gas Leak Prompts Evacuations, Road Closures in Charlottesville

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Crews work on gas leak in Rives Street area Crews work on gas leak in Rives Street area
Fire truck blocking roads in the neighborhood Fire truck blocking roads in the neighborhood
CAT buses at the BP station, evacuating residents from the area CAT buses at the BP station, evacuating residents from the area
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Many people who live in the Belmont area of Charlottesville are back in their homes after a gas and water leak drove them out in the cold Tuesday morning.

Fire officials say around 11 a.m. a construction crew doing utility work on Hampton Street hit a high pressure natural gas line and water line. Officials say no one was hurt, but it was a big interruption on a hectic day.

Charlottesville firefighters and police blocked all traffic to Hampton and Rives streets to secure gas and water leaks in the area.

"Fire department personnel immediately went into setting up water supply and hose lines to try and take care of the situation, and also to evacuate all residents in the area,” said Battalion Chief Richard Jones of the Charlottesville Fire Department.

People living in the neighborhood say the smell and sight were alarming. "It smelled like, real like rotten egg type smell so, it was, you could tell it was there,” said Tiffany Harris who had to evacuate her home. “There was a lot of water running through the street and the hoses were all in the street and all that too."

Homes on Florence Street and Rives Street were evacuated, affecting approximately 15 residents. The residents were evacuated to the BP gas station on Monticello Road and Druid Street.

Charlottesville Area Transit buses lined up at the BP station to house evacuees while crews tried to secure the gas line break.

"They gave us enough time to, you know, get whatever we needed and they had a bus here pretty quickly for us to sit on so we wouldn't be out in the cold," Harris stated.

The gas leak was repaired at approximately 11:30 a.m. Firefighters then went door-to-door checking each house for any sign of gas inside before allowing everyone to go home. Around noon people were allowed back into their homes with instructions to call 911 immediately if they smelled gas.

Evacuees we spoke with said the scare did interrupt some of their travel and holiday plans, but they are glad that it was taken care of quickly and no one was hurt.