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Propane leak evacuates store

January 28, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

A minor propane leak at a Hagerstown drugstore Friday night forced the evacuation of store employees and customers.

Five units from the Hagerstown Fire Department responded to the Super Phar-Mor on Maryland Avenue at 7:45 p.m. in response to a reported odor in the store, according to Battalion Chief Richard Hopkins.

Firefighters removed a leaking propane tank from a forklift in the store's rear receiving area, Hopkins said.

The incident was handled in a "matter of minutes," he said.

A man contracted by the company to clean the store's floors said he smelled the telltale "rotten egg" odor of propane gas when he entered the receiving room.

The man, who refused to give his name, informed store manager Glenda Barnett.

Barnett said corporate policy prohibited her from commenting on the incident, but store employee Pam St. Clair said the first group of firefighters to arrive at the store asked employees and customers to "evacuate immediately."

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There were "quite a few" shoppers in the store, many of whom had to leave full carts in check-out lines before evacuating, St. Clair said.

Shopper Michelle Helmsley of Hagerstown said her cart had been emptied by store employees by the time she returned 10 minutes later.

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