3 separate gas leaks in Durham cause multiple evacuations, including at elementary school

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Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Multiple gas leaks lead to evacuations in Durham
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Three separate gas leaks happened in Durham on Tuesday morning, including one that caused an elementary school to evacuate.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Three separate gas leaks happened in Durham on Tuesday morning.

The first shut down part of North Roxboro Street in downtown Durham and forced evacuations out of a 2-block area north of the public library.

Chris Perelstein lives in the area and had to evacuate because of the North Roxboro Street gas leak.

"Even at the dog park a block away, the smell of gas is really strong," Perelstein said.

Dominion Energy said the gas leak was caused by a third party working in the area. Crews were able to repair the leak by 10 a.m. and allow people back into the area.

Nearly an hour and a half later, a separate gas leak led the the evacuation of Club Elementary School on Club Blvd at I-85.

First responders tell ABC11 that nobody was injured and the gas leak was quickly contained.

Then shortly before noon, a third gas leak was reported Hillsborough Road and Rutherford Street. About 40 to 50 residents at Station Nine Apartments were evacuated due to that leak.

"I could kind of smell it, which made me suspicious of a gas leak," Nicole Miller said. "It is concerning because that's something that can really sneak up on you and make you sick without really knowing."

Durham Fire Department Division Chief David Swain said the gas leak on Hillsborough Road had a similar cause to the first reported leak on North Roxboro Street.

"These two today have been backhoe operators digging dirt to do whatever there is when they're building these buildings," Swain said. "The difference (with Hillsborough Road) is there was residential occupancies really close. So we're a little bit more concerned over making sure we got a really good, thorough evacuation."

Residents got the all clear shortly after they were evacuated.

Swain said he doesn't know if the gas leaks are related, however Dominion Energy is working on fixing their gas lines.