Businesses evacuated after construction crews strike gas lines

LAWRENCEVILLE - Two gas mains began leaking after construction crews struck the mains while digging Monday.

Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge said a crew struck a four-inch gas main at 11:38 a.m. while digging at an empty lot between the Ethan Allen furniture store and Ted's Montana Grill at the Avenue Webb Gin.

Rutledge said the furniture store and restaurant were the only two businesses evacuated. He said Ted's is still under construction.

Rutledge said about 20 people total from both the furniture store and a contracting crew from the restaurant were evacuated.

"Just a portion of the parking lot was closed but no roads were closed," Rutledge said.

Firefighters monitored gas readings and an emergency crew from Atlanta Gas Light had the leak under control by 2:53 p.m. and evacuees where able to return the businesses, Rutledge said.

A leak at Beaver Ruin and Burns roads in Lilburn was also caused when a construction crew hit a gas main while digging near the roadway.

Rutledge said a business and a day care nearby were asked to "go to shelter" but were not evacuated.

"We didn't evacuate them but asked them to go to shelter which means to stay where they are and not to go outside... just as a precaution," Rutledge said.

Rutledge said both lanes of Beaver Ruin Road were closed while Atlanta Gas Light crews worked to stop the leak.

Whether boring a line or digging, Rutledge said there is always the potential to hit a gas line, and he said firefighters respond when there is a leak.

"When the weather is nice we seem to see an increase in gas leaks because of an increase of construction," Rutledge said.