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Gas leaks prompt mass evacuation

Sept. 20, 2009 at 1:50 PM

CALGARY, Alberta, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Major gas leaks in Calgary, Alberta, prompted authorities to seek the evacuation of nearly 140 local homes and businesses, a Canadian fire official said.

Calgary fire department spokesman Jeff Budai said Saturday's evacuations in Calgary's Erin Woods and Pineridge neighborhoods came about after the smell of natural gas began to spread throughout the area, the Calgary Herald reported Sunday.

"It took a while for the residual gas to actually come out of the line," Budai said.

The first leak began Saturday morning when a gas line was ruptured by construction machinery.

That leak was followed by a large gas leak caused by an external contractor hitting a pipeline. The second pipeline rupture left 296 ATCO customers without service for several hours, the Herald reported.

The Herald said authorities conducted air-quality tests in the neighborhoods once the leaks were contained to ensure local homes were safe for residents.

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