Natural gas leak in Detroit Lakes forces evacuation of neighborhood
A natural gas leak Tuesday evening forced the evacuation of residents within roughly a block radius of the 1200 block of Summit Avenue in Detroit Lakes.
They were not allowed back into their homes until nearly 3 a.m.
At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, police and fire crews were dispatched to investigate a natural gas odor.
The gas supplier, Minnesota Energy, determined there was a gas leak in that area, and police evacuated a 300-foot radius, Detroit Lakes Police Chief Kel Keena said in a news release.
At 2:53 a.m. he sent an e-mail saying all residents were being allowed to return to their homes.
A preliminary investigation led officials to believe the cause of the leak is a ruptured 3/4-inch service line underneath the street in front of 1240 Summit Avenue.
Officials say crews from Minnesota Energy will dig up the road, uncover the service line and determine the exact cause of the leak Wednesday.
Curtis Olson, who lives at 1301 Summit Avenue, was one of the evacuated residents who were advised to go to the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center until it closed at 10 p.m.
After arriving home around 6:30 p.m. he said he and his wife watched the emergency activity for a while out of the window before they found out what was happening.
"We had an officer come tap on our door and told us we were gonna have to evacuate," he said.
Officials did not say how many residents were evacuated, but about two dozen people joined Olson at the community center and the rest stayed elsewhere, he said.
Residents were told that efforts to contain the leak could last into the early morning hours, Keena said. They were advised to seek shelter with friends and family and those who couldn't were taken to the National Guard Armory, where they stayed until they could return home.
Olson said officials at the armory set up cots for the residents and served refreshments and food throughout the night.
"We were treated well but hopefully we don't have to go through it again," Olson said.
The city warned residents about the situation through its Instant Alert messaging system. Officers went door-to-door notifying residents that needed to be relocated.
The area is on the south end of town, near Peoples Park. Barricades were set up and officers in squad cars kept people out of the area. Detroit Lakes firefighters were also on the scene.