Local News

Cut Gas Line Forces Downtown Raleigh Evacuations

Posted December 2, 2003

— Crews worked late Monday night and into Tuesday morning to repair a gas leak in downtown Raleigh that forced the evacuation of nearly 200 people.

Fourteen homes and two dorms housing 600 Shaw University students were evacuated because of the leak.

Crews were working to repair a water line when a 4- to 6-inch gas line was inadvertently cut at Person Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard sometime after 10:30 p.m.

The gas line apparently was not marked.

Residents of the evacuated homes kept warm on city buses. On the night before the start of exams, many of the evacuated Shaw students crowded into the school gym.

"We were all in our dorms studying, some sleeping, getting ready for [exams] when the fire alarms went off. People are complaining, people can't study. It's not a conducive learning area," student Eddie Flack said.

Crews restored the cut line by 1 a.m. Tuesday and those evacuated were allowed back to their homes and residence halls by 1:30 a.m.

It was the third gas leak -- and second evacuation -- in downtown Raleigh in recent weeks.

On Nov. 20,

an underground natural gas leak shut down power and evacuated several buildings in the Fayetteville Street Mall area.

Heavy traffic by construction vehicles in the area where Progress Energy is having a new facility built apparently caused the leak.

The next day,

another leak was detected.

There were no evacuations or power outages that time.

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