Pawtucket gas leak contained, evacuations lifted

(Andy Paskowski/WPRI)

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The residents of a Pawtucket neighborhood are back in their homes after a gas leak Wednesday morning forced them to evacuate.

The leak was reported at about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday at 181 Japonica Street – which is a vacant three-family home.

Firefighters said workers renovating the building cut through a gas line in the basement, causing the leak.

“The workers were in the basement and a gas main was cut in the basement,” said Pawtucket Fire Chief William Sisson. “They were under the impression that the gas was off to the building and it was not.”

The leak has since been contained, according to fire officials.

Officials said about 45 people were evacuated from nearby homes. They also said a school is nearby, but it was not necessary to evacuated it.

“I heard the fire trucks coming and I came to the door and they told me I have to evacuate and I said I have three dogs and they said you have to get out,” Maria Cabral said. “It’s a crazy morning. A crazy morning.”

National Grid responded to the scene to assist with the leak. Power was shut off in the neighborhood as a precaution.

“A leak like this, the thing we’re most concerned about, mostly, is any ignition sources, to eliminate any ignition sources,” Sisson added.