Grosse Pointe Woods gas leak forces brief evacuation

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A contractor strikes a natural gas main causing a big leak in Grosse Pointe Woods - as several homes and businesses were forced to evacuate for hours.

The sidewalk redevelopment project in Grosse Pointe Woods hit a snag - or rather a gas line Thursday morning.

"I just smelled the gas and heard the hiss," said one resident.

"You could see the plume of gas, it was shooting up higher than the trees," said another resident.

"A subcontractor with DTE was doing some cement work in the area and they accidentally pulled up some concrete," said John Kosanke, Director of Public Safety. "And with it came a two-inch, 60-pound gas line."
Within minutes police, DTE and other utility crews were at the scene. The first order of business was to ensure everyone was safe.

"The fumes could overtake people, we could have a secondary explosion type thing," said Kosanke. "It was in our best interest to get here as soon as could to (secure) the area."

As soon as the emergency crews knew what they were dealing with, they evacuated Flagstar Bank and Starbucks then went a block into the neighborhood to evacuate residents.

Hours into the evacuation, tension from some residents boiled over.

"Nobody has knocked on our door," said one resident to police. "Nobody said anything, we would still be in our house."

It proved tough at times to find a balance between erring on the side of caution and disrupting the lives of those forced from their homes.

"They didn't say anything," that resident told FOX 2. "It was a word of mouth thing that they were evacuating. No one came to the door."

Police were able to keep the peace, while crews made sure the repairs done would not cause further disruption and problems later on.
Police credit fast action from emergency responders for making sure no one was hurt during the gas leak and the aftermath.