Natural gas leak forces businesses to evacuate

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– Hundreds of people are back in their Ramada Inn rooms Friday night, after a natural gas leak forced them to evacuate.

“My kids came and banged, were banging on the door, screaming something about we have to get out the building. And you know, kids being kids, I was thinking like eh…okay,” Ramada Inn guest, Gerald Young said.

But when he went outside, he realized they weren’t kidding.

“Especially when I could smell it when I got outside, I was going okay this is not that good so,” Young said.

Just after 9:00 Friday morning, a natural gas line was damaged near the Ramada Inn at 6th and Madison. Gas was leaking into the sewer system and spreading.

Crews quickly began working on the leak to keep the gas from spreading further.

Sanoma Evans’ track team is staying at the Ramada Inn for a meet when the evacuation happened.

“I was worried because I probably have close to 40 athletes who are staying in this hotel, so I was worried about that, to make sure everybody was out,” Evans said.

However, her track team aren’t the only ones forced to evacuate.

The city of Topeka reports nearly 200 people were evacuated from businesses in the area.

Although, guests at the Ramada said that while they were evacuated, people stepped up to help.

“I don’t know who called, but a bus came and picked them up so that they could at least be in an air conditioned vehicle and not sitting out here in the sun,” Evans said.

“Some guy came down the street with bottles of water and just started passing out water to people, which was you know a surprise, you didn’t think these things were going to happen,” Young said.

The Kansas Gas Services was able to stop the gas leak by shutting down the line. Gas detection equipment was used to be sure all the sewer systems were clear before businesses were safe to be re-occupied.

KSNT News reached out to the Kansas Gas Service for advice on what we all should do in the case of a gas leak.

They said anytime you smell gas, leave immediately and then call 911. They stress leaving the area that you smell the gas before calling.

Indicators of a gas lead are things like smell, a possible hissing noise, and dirt blowing around.

They also said if you are working on a project and need to dig into the ground, call 811 before you do to make sure it’s safe.

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