Gas Leak Leads To Quick Evacuation

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MOOSIC -- A gas leak forced most of the Birney Shopping Plaza in Moosic to evacuate Wednesday afternoon.

A beauty school was among the properties and it meant some women having their hair done had to leave immediately

The leak happened when an ice-filled downspout on the building broke off and landed on a natural gas meter.  The gas started spewing out.

The order came immediately, "quick, get out."  And that meant no time to take out the curlers.

A close look at the crowd of people who were forced out of the Empire Beauty School showed how quickly they left the Birney Plaza in Moosic.

Women in curlers, towels on their heads, still wearing gowns from their haircuts.

Kaitlyn Lane was among the customers trying to find somewhere to rinse out coloring or perm chemicals in their hair.

“I was getting color done and I couldn't even get it done before they told us to evacuate.  Right now I'm going over to the Long John Silver’s to see if they'll let me wash my hair out there in the bathroom,” Lane said.

Brittany Ambrose was glad they just finished rinsing out the chemicals for her perm.

“We were rinsing my hair out.  We were putting conditioner in and they said we had to leave because of a gas leak.  So here I am freezing,” Ambrose said. “It's not comforting at all.”

There was a lot of commotion at the plaza after workers and customers at the Dollar Tree started smelling gas.

“Oh yeah, it was horrible. People were getting headaches in the store, it was bad,” said Dollar Tree manager Jeannie Solano

UGI came to shut off the gas then fix the leaking meter behind the Dollar Tree.  The worker who found the gas spewing from there says it was quite a scene.

“It was literally just shooting snow, a little taller than me, but it was just shooting over our dock and it was really, really, really strong back there.”

Firefighters say it was a heavy ice-filled drain pipe that fell off the building and hit the gas meter.

After a little over an hour, everyone was allowed back inside, including those customers in curlers.

and this mom and kids who all had to rush out without coats  with concern.

“It was kind of scary because when we came out, we smelled the gas so, kind of scary,” said Janet Dzinski, who had to rush out with her kids.

After some airing out at the Dollar Tree, everything is back to normal at the Birney Plaza in Moosic.


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