HAGERSTOWN — Copper thieves caused a gas leak that prompted Hagerstown officials to evacuate about 40 people from the 200 block of North Locust Street on Thursday, city police and fire officials said.
Fire Capt. Adam Hopkins said at the scene that firefighters were called at 11:33 a.m. for a report of gas and water leaking in a vacant house at 212 N. Locust St.
When firefighters arrived, they measured an explosive level of gas.
An investigation determined that the gas leak was caused by burglars who cut copper pipe at the vacant house, according to a Hagerstown Police Department news release.
Hopkins said workers from the gas company shut off the gas while firefighters used fans to ventilate several buildings on the block.
The scene was cleared shortly after 1 p.m.
Traffic that was diverted from the area caused heavy congestion downtown, particularly on South Potomac Street.Anyone with information about the burglary may call 301-790-3700.