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Gas leak forces evacuation of more than 60 homes


A contractor working at a home in the Ellicott City area struck a high-pressure natural gas main yesterday and caused a leak that led to the evacuation of more than 60 homes, Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. officials said.

The contractor, who was working for BGE, was doing excavation work at a residence in the 5300 block of Kerger Road about 4: 45 p.m. and knocked loose a 2-inch T-connection from a 6-inch gas supply main, said Karl Neddenien, a BGE spokesman.

As gas leaked from the high-pressure main, it caused a loud whooshing sound and filled the neighborhood with the smell of natural gas. BGE crews responded along with at least three county fire engines, a rescue squad and three ambulances, said Lt. Michael Baker, a fire department spokesman.

Baker said two of the ambulances stayed at the scene and one went to an evacuation site at Ilchester Elementary School.

Although the gas leak affected only one home, fire officials evacuated between 60 and 70 residences as a precaution, Baker said.

Between 65 and 75 people were at the school, and others went to the homes of friends or relatives.

BGE crews reduced the gas pressure but kept the gas flowing as they made repairs, Neddenien said. They put a sleeve over the damaged area to stop the leak.

Residents were allowed back into their homes at 10 p.m., Neddenien said.

Pub Date: 12/13/96

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