Gas leak prompts mass evacuation in Roane County

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 1:23 PM EDT
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ROANE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Emergency crews responded to reports of a large natural gas leak in Roane County Tuesday morning.

The leak happened after a 18-inch TransCanada pipeline burst against a hill in the 300 block of Speed Road, according to firefighters on the scene. That pipeline was installed in 1921 and went both above and underground.

“I heard this huge gurgling sound coming 300 yards away out on the hill,” resident James Pickens said. He went into the woods behind his home to find the leak and called 911.

The gas could be smelled for more than a mile away from the broken pipe as crews worked to repair the leak.

“They came to our house and told us to evacuate immediately,” Pickens said. “Our grandchildren were next door and we got them out. Everybody from the police to the fire department helped the people that live up the road.”

About 200 people were evacuated from their homes within a mile radius of the leak, according to first responders. Cooling centers were set up to help people who were not allowed back to their homes.

The gas company responded to the scene to make repairs, which were completed around 5:30 Tuesday evening. The road was reopened and residents were allowed to return to their homes.

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