Crews say a backhoe struck a gas line around 11 a.m. near Davie and Salisbury Streets. Two people were injured and taken to the hospital.
"[It] smelled like gas. Everyone was getting headaches. Some people had passed out," court advocate Andrea Maness said.
Witnesses said during the incident they could smell and hear gas in parts of the downtown area. The Wake County Office building and the Wake County courthouse were among the buildings that were evacuated.
Senior citizens living in the Sir Walter Raleigh building were also evacuated and taken to the Sheraton hotel.
Most of the downtown street blocks that were closed as a result of the leak were reopened around 2 p.m. The only exception will be Davie Street between Salisbury and Wilmington streets, which will remain closed until the repair work on the line has been totally completed.
Officials said it is the second gas leak in the area related to that construction.
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