Local News

Gas leak briefly closes downtown Durham streets

Posted October 21, 2010 10:37 a.m. EDT
Updated October 21, 2010 3:38 p.m. EDT

— Natural gas leaking from a damaged line Thursday morning forced Durham police to close three downtown intersections and evacuate nearby buildings for about four hours.

The intersections of Main Street and Buchanan Boulevard, Main and Gregson streets and Morgan and Gregson streets were closed at about 10 a.m.

Angie Townsend, a spokeswoman for PSNC Energy, said the contractor, All Star Underground, drilling in the area hit a 4-inch gas pipeline underneath Main Street near Watts Street.

All Star’s owner, Jim Berbube, said workers were installing a fiber optic line between two buildings at Duke University when they hit an unmarked line.

PSNC closed the valve at about 11 a.m., stopping the gas flow, Townsend said, but it took several hours to fix the pipe.

Nearby buildings, including Durham School of the Arts, the Brightleaf Square retail and office complex, were evacuated. They reopened shortly after 2 p.m.

Townsend said PSNC is investigating Berbube’s claim about the gas line not being properly marked.