Taylor gas leak on Telegraph causes businesses to be evacuated

Taylor police and fire were at the scene of a reported gas leak on the north end of the city Tuesday night. The leak has since been fixed by DTE.

The gas leak was in the area of Telegraph and Van Born, causing the businesses in the area to close up and evacuate workers.

Taylor Police say the leak occurred after a homeless man made his way into a manhole near a gas station, at the southern city border of Dearborn Heights, around 5:30 p.m. 

According to investigators, dispatchers got a call from a witness who saw the man open the manhole cover and crawl down the ladder, closing the hatch over his head.

Photo by Dave Kinchen/FOX 2

Photo by Dave Kinchen/FOX 2

When officers arrived on scene, they heard a loud noise coming from the hole, according to police. They were able to pry the cover off and get to the homeless man inside.

That’s when police noticed the strong smell of natural gas coming from the hole. It was so strong, in fact, that authorities were forced to evacuate the corner Walgreens, a Burger King and other businesses.

The man was found unconscious. Police monitored him for a while after pulling him out.

But some residents are wondering why they weren’t evacuated as well. 

"We get a phone call from a relative that’s in Belleville and said ‘are you OK?’ We’re like ‘what are you talking about?’ He goes ‘there’s a gas leak,’" said Wendy Stewart, who lives in the area. "(I) had no clue."

"It’s a little concerning that we were not evacuated over here," Stewart continued. "Especially (since) I have a mother-in-law who does have a rare lung disease." 

Police have reopened the roadway and the gas leak has been fixed.

FOX 2 did ask first responders about the process of evacuating people; they said they only cleared the areas absolutely necessary as a precaution.

The homeless man in the manhole was taken to the hospital for observation. Police say has been in the area, panhandling, for a while now. 

No other details were available at this time.