A gas leak forced evacuations and road closures in Ludlow Wednesday morning.
Fire department officials said construction workers doing renovations on the former Boys and Girls Club hit a 2-inch gas line feeding the building. The break was inside the building. Investigators say the pipe was painted over and workers believed gas service was not on at the time.
The initial 911 call came in at 9:57 a.m. according to Ludlow Fire Chief Mark Babineau. He said Columbia Gas has the gas shut off about 30 minutes after the initial call.
Gas readings inside parts of the building were above explosive levels, meaning there was not enough oxygen to allow the gas to burn. Once the gas began to dissipate, the prospect of an explosion became very real. Barbineau said something like a cell phone, a battery powered radio or even static electricity was enough to cause an explosion.
Once the gas was ventilated, authorities opened area roadways and allowed people to return to their homes and businesses around 1 p.m.
Utilities were shut off in the immediate area to keep the possibility of a spark down to a minimum.
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