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Natural Gas Leak In Locust Point Forces Hundreds To Evacuate

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A day full of chaos in south Baltimore. More than 1,000 people moved to safety after a gas leak in Locust Point. It happened near the Under Armour headquarters. Repairs are complete but the headaches are not over.

Alex DeMetrick has more on how this all unfolded.

It was a potentially explosive situation. The first priority was to get hundreds of people to safe ground.

You could hear it blocks away. A high-pressure line carrying natural gas ruptured by a construction crew digging in the 11-hundred block of Hull Street about 10:30 Monday morning. On the ground, city fire and police poured into Locust Point, staging equipment and first responders around the Under Armour campus.

“What we heard was just a gas main break,” said one.

Hundreds of Under Armour employees were evacuated, along with at least three city blocks of homes and businesses. Nearly all had to walk out of the area as gas continued to escape for the next two hours.

“It’s a bit much but at least it’s not 102 degrees today,” said one.

“It’s dangerous but they’re working on it. They’re doing the best they can,” said another.

People were kept out of their homes while firefighters searched for potential gas pockets in buildings.

“We have our Hazmat task force here on the scene. They’re going into residents’ homes to assess whether there’s any odors of gas. None’s been detected at this moment,” said Kevin Cartwright.

By 12:30, BGE tracked down the valve needed to shut down the gas line. That allowed the construction workers and BGE gas emergency staff to get back into the scene of the break.

An investigation into the cause of the break is ongoing.

People have been allowed back in but there are a handful of homes and businesses that won’t have natural gas until the repairs are tested.

Mike Hellgren has a closer look at the impact on people who live and work in the area.

It was quite a scare and a remarkably large evacuation. Over 1,000 people work at Under Armour alone.

Hundreds of people were forced out of homes and businesses in Locust Point for hours, as concern grew over the gas leak on Hull Street. That included the evacuation of the large Under Armour headquarters. Masses of people poured onto the street and there was the surreal sight of children in cribs from a day care on the side walk.

“It smelled like gas. It smelled like a gas leak. You could taste it in the air,” said one.

“I heard about the gas leak and I rushed home because I was freaking out,” said another.

Eyewitnesses say not only was the smell intense, but also the sound of the leak.

“It sounded like water, actually, like you turn your bathtub on. It went on for a good six, seven minutes,” said one.

In addition to closing off streets, some people were told they couldn’t turn on their gas appliances or their cars.

“Some firemen walking up and down, knocking on the doors, telling people that there’s a gas main break and we needed to evacuate the houses,” said one.

People crammed onto the narrow streets and waited for answers as emergency crews stopped the leak that disrupted routines and tested patience.

“My husband works at Domino and he smelled the gas leak while I was on the phone with him,” said one woman.

“I really knew what was going on and communication was all over the place,” said another.

A tense morning that left many shaken but thankful that no one was hurt.

The gas leak has been repaired. It was a quick and massive response. No injuries were reported.

The entire ordeal lasted about three hours.

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