Gas Leak in Shamokin Causes Evacuation of School, Homes

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SHAMOKIN, Pa. -- For a four hour period, people were not allowed inside their homes in one part of Shamokin because a contractor, who was replacing water lines, hit a four-inch gas line on 8th Street.

Firefighters knocked on more than two dozen doors and told people they had to leave their homes until the natural gas line was fixed.

"They told us that they had a problem with the gas leak and we would be evacuated," said Robert Baker.

"They just said that we have to be, there was a gas leak and told us we had to be evacuated," said Melissa Driggers.

The Shamokin Area Elementary Annex was also evacuated.

About 200 students were transported to the district's elementary school in nearby Coal Township.

Some residents who had nowhere to go were taken by ambulance to Shamokin City Hall.

"Area Services Wheelchair Ambulance brought us to Shamokin City Hall until it's safe to go back," said Baker.

City Hall is where Dave Kokoles picked up his great aunt Martha.

"Just get down here and get her. My mom and dad were in Schuylkill Haven so I was the only one able to get her," said Kokoles.

Utility crews shut off power in most of the city for about two hours as a precaution.

"Especially when you have such a volatile substance in the air that can cause an explosion," said City Administrator Bob Slaby.

"I'm glad that everything worked out okay, that we didn't get exploded. I was so afraid it would blow up before we got out," said Patsy Geyer.

The gas leak was fixed around 12 p.m.

People were allowed back inside their houses around 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and regained power shortly thereafter.


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