Frederick Street residents surprised, scared by evacuation for gas leak

January 22, 2013|By DAN DEARTH and C.J. LOVELACE |;
  • 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 — With temperatures below freezing Tuesday morning, 28 people were ordered to temporarily leave their homes as emergency personnel responded for a reported gas leak on Frederick Street in Hagerstown.

The Hagerstown Fire Department was dispatched for the call in the 200 block of Frederick Street shortly after 11 a.m.

Firefighters knocked on doors of nearby residents and told them to leave as a precaution.

“They were banging and told us we had to evacuate,” said Leteshia Campbell, who lives across the street from where the gas leak was discovered. “It’s very scary. I’m not going to lie.”

Campbell said some of the evacuees were taken to Julia Manor Health Care Center, about a block away on Mill Street.

The staff at Julia Manor, she said, gave the evacuees cocoa, coffee and pizza, and provided coloring books to keep the children busy.

“They took very good care of us,” Campbell said.

Pete Dorce said he was sleeping in his apartment at 251 Frederick St. when he heard knocking.

He said he believed the noise was coming from his neighbor’s house and went back to sleep, never evacuating.

“I wish I would have looked out the window,” Dorce said as he stood on his front porch after firefighters allowed residents to return home. “I don’t feel comfortable being here ... It’s not cool. There’s nothing cool about it. Just the fumes alone could hurt you.”

Heather Dominguez, who lives at 246 Frederick St., returned home about 1:30 p.m. after she was told by fire officials that the leak had been stabilized. She said she stayed at her mother’s house in the meantime.

Dominguez said she had just started baking and cooking lunch when she heard a knock at the door and was told to leave. She said she lives at the home with her three children, all 9 years old or younger, and her husband, who was at work at the time.

“It was just a surprise,” Dominguez said, just after hopping out of her vehicle.

Terry Plume and his wife, Sue, who live next door at 244 Frederick St., said they left for about two hours while officials worked to remedy the potentially dangerous situation.

“They told us there was a gas leak and we went to our daughter’s,” Plume said.

Plume, who said they moved into the home in October, said he saw fire trucks arrive outside, and 15 or 20 minutes later, they were ordered to evacuate.

“They did a good job,” he said of the fire department. “They informed us right.”

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