A representative from the West Norriton Fire Department confirmed a gas leak that had shut down the neighborhoods surrounding West Marshall Street and Colonial Avenue this afternoon has been capped and residents who were evacuated have returned to their homes.
Neighbors were evacuated shortly before 1 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon when a plumber working on a sewer line at a home in the 100 block of Colonial Avenue accidentally ruptured an underground gas line. There was no fire or explosion resulting from the rupture.
"A plumber was digging a hole and as he was pulling the dirt out, a rock fell out of the bucket and hit the [gas] line and broke the line,” Jefferson Fire Company Chief Kevin Guirate told The Times Herald.
Homeowner Rich Russo, whose sewer line the plumber was working on, talked to Norristown Patch about the incident earlier today. [See our video for Russo's full remarks.]
"The plumber apparently had a problem with the gas line running underneath the sidewalk," said Russo. "Next thing I know, there's a lot of noise and cloud of gas coming out of the ground."
The surrounding roads were closed of for several blocks in all directions for over an hour and neighboring residents were housed in the township building while crew worked to repair the damage and contain the gas. According to the Herald, children attending camp at nearby Marshall Street Elementary School were told to stay indoors until the gas could be contained.
PECO crews reportedly capped the gas line at approximately 2 p.m. and roads were reopened not long after. No one was reported injured in the incident. A PECO representative reports that four customers along Colonial Ave. are currently without gas service, but that crews will remain on the scene until service is restored.
Engines from Jefferson Fire Co. and King of Prussia as well as responders from Plymouth Ambulance and aided at the scene.