Gas Leak Evacuates Corner Businesses

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

August 19, 2005

A gas leak on the corner closed several businesses this evening, adding to the confusion as students are arriving to the University for the fall semester.

Charlottesville Fire got the call just after 7 p.m. for reports of a gas fed fire along 14th Street and Wertland St. When they arrived on the scene they encountered a dumpster fire with heavy smoke. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames and that is when they encountered the gas leak.

"What we've uncovered is a tank of propane. We don't know the size of the tank. The tank has actually been there for some length of time but we don't know who owns the tank. Temporarily we've been able to do a temporary measure of actually shutting off the tank by using some bonding materials," said Chief Charles Werner.

The area was shut down for several hours. Several businesses along 14th Street were forced to close their doors on a Friday night for several hours causing losses. According to St. Maarten's Manager Russ Hamilton, these are losses they can recover from.

"I mean we might have lost a couple hundred dollars here and there as far as the sales go. But I think overall, it's not really going to set us back that much," said St. Maarten Manager Russ Hamilton.

Businesses were allowed back in to their buildings just after 10 p.m. and no one was injured in the incident. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire and the nature of the leak. Fire officials say a gas company will look to remove the tank sometime this weekend.

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