Damaged Line Sends Gas in the Air, Forces Nearby Businesses to Evacuate


POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 - 2:44pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 1:58pm

Natural gas could be seen spewing from a pipe that was damaged off of Boca Chica near Central on Monday morning. Officials with the Texas Gas Company and Brownsville Public Utilities Board said subcontractors working on a sewer rehabilitation project damaged the line.

Several businesses, including Dairy Queen, as well as a pre-school and HEB evacuated their buildings because of close proximity to the highly explosive gas.

Dozens and dozens of grocery store employees were seen waiting in the parking lot until given the call clear to return to work.

News Center 23 caught up with two shoppers who were inside the store when employees told them to get out. One of the shoppers claims he was in the produce section when he heard the loud explosion and very shortly after, was told to leave his stuff and get out of the store. A woman who was also in the store at the time was told to leave, but she only got as far as the left side of the parking lot. Her car was parked maybe 50 yards from the spewing gas and turning her engine on could have triggered an explosion.

In the meantime, emergency personnel blocked off Boca Chica so that vehicles couldn't pass through.

Within about an hour and a half, Texas Gas Company turned off the gas to begin repairs and businesses were allowed to once again open their doors to customers.

The exact cause of the gas line damage is under investigation.

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