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Contractor might be billed for Raleigh gas leak

Police closed parts of several downtown Raleigh streets for about four hours Wednesday and asked more than 150 people to leave the area because of an underground gas leak.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — It's still unclear how much natural gas or money was lost Wednesday when a private utility contractor severed a 4-inch gas line, prompting emergency officials to evacuate part of downtown Raleigh.

PSNC Energy spokeswoman Angie Townsend said Thursday that the utility hasn't determined whether the contractor, Precision Networks, will be billed for the gas, as well as the materials and labor associated with repairing the line.

Townsend said a worker was drilling for a cable line when he struck the pipe underneath South Wilmington Street and drilled right through. It had been located and properly marked, and the company should have known it was there, she said.

Raleigh police did not have an immediate estimate of how much the emergency response cost taxpayers.

Vapors underground and fears of an explosion prompted authorities to force about 160 people from the area around South Wilmington Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.


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