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Gas leak forces 28 Frederick Street residents from their homes

January 22, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Columbia Gas personell work Tuesday at scene at of a natural gas leak at 252-254 Frederick St. in Hagerstown.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Hagerstown firefighters evacuated 28 residents in the area of the 200 block of Frederick Street on Tuesday after scrap metal thieves cut a gas line inside a vacant duplex, fire officials said.

The street was blocked off to motorists and pedestrians from about 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Hagerstown Fire Marshall Doug DeHaven said the matter would be turned over to the Hagerstown Police Department for an investigation.

“City police will handle it from here,” he said. 

City Fire Department Capt. Adam Hopkins said at the scene that firefighters were called for a gas leak in a vacant 2 1/2 story duplex at 252-254 Frederick St. He said that the leaking gas was “explosive in nature.”

Firefighters closed Frederick Street from Baltimore Street to Hager Street. Motorists and pedestrians who tried to pass were turned away.

Workers from Columbia Gas struggled to find the nature of the leak and used a jack hammer and heavy equipment to reach the gas line. They were able to shut off the gas shortly before 1 p.m.

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Hopkins said 28 people and a number of pets were evacuated from eight homes on the street. Many were taken to Julia Manor Health Care Center on Mill Street near the corner of Memorial Boulevard and Frederick Street.

Emergency services officials worked with American Red Cross in trying to find local facilities where the evacuated residents could go for shelter, Washington County Emergency Services Director Kevin Lewis said.

The temperature in the Hagerstown area was 17.3 degrees shortly before noon, with a wind chill of 3.8 degrees, according to local weather observer Greg Keefer’s website at i4weather.net.

Officials said no injuries or fires were reported as a result of the leak.

People were allowed to return to their homes around 1 p.m.

Staff writer Julie Greene contributed to this story.

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