Harrisonburg Intersection Reopens After Gas Leak

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- UPDATE: 7/11/2014 3:30 p.m.
"Just hoping that we're safe," shared Tony Stephens who works near the site of the leak.

He and his coworkers said they were shocked at the response to the leak Friday afternoon.

"There were a lot of sirens. The streets got blocked off instantly. They responded really, really fast. very quick," Stephens continued.

The fire department works closely with the gas company on incidents like this.

"They know what we're going to do. They know what we're going to do. It worked out very well. This is not unusual for us at all," shared Harrisonburg Fire Chief, Larry Shifflett.

As big of a response the leak caused, the crews were still relatively safe.

"If it had ignited in this instance, you would've seen a flame that came back to the ground right where the leak was or where the hole that HEC dug was," the chief added.

He said that's why they told surrounding businesses to shelter in place and not evacuate. Thankfully, this leak never did catch fire.

Only one gas customer lost service for a few hours during the afternoon.

All this trouble keeping customers away from a nearby 7-11 on "Free Slurpee Day."

When asked about that quick response, Stephens said, "Good, good. Just hope that we're safe and they continue to let us know if we need to leave or not."

The Harrisonburg Fire Department closed the intersection of Neff Avenue and Reservoir Street on Friday morning due to a gas leak located between the 7-Eleven and the DuPont Community Credit Union.

The Harrisonburg Electric Commission was digging a hole, when workers hit the gas line four feet under ground, according to a Harrisonburg City official.

The Harrisonburg Fire Department received the call at 10:48 a.m.

Columbia Gas crews and the Harrisonburg Fire Department shut down the gas at about 12:30 p.m. With the gas shut off, the next step is to plug the leak.

The gas, which looked like a white vapor, was visible as it rose up from the ground.

The intersection was reopened a little after 1 p.m.

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