HAGERSTOWN, Md. (DC News Now) — Crews were on the scene of what the City of Hagerstown called a “major gas leak” Tuesday afternoon. That leak led to evacuations that displaced roughly 1,000 people.
The city posted on its Facebook page that workers hit a 6-inch gas line in the area of South Potomac Street and West Memorial Boulevard. It said that crews used hazardous materials mapping software and weather conditions to determine the radius of the area that needed to be evacuated. That radius was three blocks. The estimate for repairs was four to five hours.
Adam Hopkins, battalion chief for the Hagerstown Fire Department, said, “We’re going to remeter this area with our atmospheric monitoring devices and if is determined to be safe, then we’re going to reoccupy the area with residents.”
Among the places that had to be cleared was Bester Elementary School. The city added that emergency workers were coordinating with Washington County Public Schools in the evacuation as well as in overseeing the safe drop-off of students off from E. Russell Hicks Middle School and South Hagerstown High School.
Students from Bester were staying at Hager Park with WCPS officials while the children awaited pick-up.
Crews were monitoring the area of the leak for a flammable atmosphere.
The city updated its Facebook followers late in the afternoon to say that Columbia Gas turned off the valves it needed to shut off, and it was waiting for the gas in the pipes to dissipate before people could be allowed back into the affected area.