Gas Leak Prompts Evacuations

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WILKES-BARRE -- Hazle Street in Wilkes-Barre is now open and safe. A natural gas leak closed down part of the street earlier today.

Streets blocked and mouths covered as crews worked to repair a gas leak on hazle street in Wilkes-Barre. Tom Brownfield, of Wilkes-Barre, was mowing a lawn nearby when he saw all the commotion and smelled gas.

"After, when I smelled it earlier, I took a walk out of here."

A spokesperson for Pennsylvania American Water says water crews were working on the 400 block of Hazle Street when they hit an unmarked gas line, causing the leak. The line connected to a vacant lot nearby.

It took crews some time to turn the gas off. In that time, people in homes and businesses were asked to leave, and the 400 block of Hazle Street was shut down to traffic.

"Have to go around the blocks to find out, cut through our parking lot and everything."

Kathy Betruce, of Kingston Township, was on her way to visit her mother when she got stopped by emergency crews.

"Firetrucks and police all over the place, like about three blocks, and I just kept going over next block, next block, next block, and they continued to be blocked off until i could get around," said Kathy Betruce, of Kingston Township.

Once crews turned off the gas, it took several hours to repair the leak, allowing people to return to the evacuated buildings and for the street to reopen. Despite the inconvenience, Kathy Betruce says she was relieved to learn the gas leak wasn't anything more serious.

"I'm just thrilled to know it's not more shootings and drugs actually," said Betruce.