A routine tour by firefighters of a new shopping center yesterday inParole turned into an unexpected emergency yesterday when a construction crew severed a natural gas line.

The fire officials were trying to learn the layout of the Annapolis Harbor Center, on Route 2 andPatuxent Boulevard, when a construction worker ran up to the group and said gas was leaking from an underground pipe.

Capt. Gary Sheckells said the leak forced police to close down a section of Route 2 for about an hour. He said the severed 6-inch high-pressure gas feeder line services the Route 2 corridor from Parole to the South River Bridge. The accident occurred at 11:34 a.m.

Gas service was cut off to the Harbor Center, -- which as two stores open-- the Colonial Plaza, a nearby shopping center and the community ofWilenor Estates, a subdivision south of Parole.

John A. Metzger, a spokesman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., said workers were able to stop the gas flow at 1:45 p.m. Service was restored to the area at 4:30 p.m., but work crews were forced to wait until homeowners returned so they could get inside the houses. He said 40 homes lost service.

Sheckells said no one was injured.


County police are investigating the death of a 35-year-oldwoman whose body was found yesterday slumped over a bathtub in a home in the 1000 block of Sun Valley Drive in Cape St. Claire.

Spokesman V. Richard Molloy said police "do not believe it is a homicide atthis time." An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Molloy said the woman -- whose identify is being withheld pending notification of her relatives -- was found by her boyfriend yesterday at about 12:30 p.m.

He said the woman was found fully clothed and slumped over the bathtub. There was no water in the tub. He said the woman had been dead for several hours before she was found.

The woman and her boyfriend were moving to a new home, and she had gone to Cape St. Claire to finishing packing, Molloy said. Her boyfriend came to pick her up at 12:30 and found her body.

Molloy said the house was "locked up tight" and there is no evidence of foul play.

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