Businesses, CenterPoint Energy respond to gas leak in downtown Duncan

Businesses, CenterPoint Energy respond to gas leak in downtown Duncan

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Natural Gas filled the streets in part of Downtown Duncan Tuesday, and now we are learning how it happened and how the leak impacted local businesses.

All over downtown Duncan, businesses were closed after a sudden gas Leak spread from Main and Willow, and 10th Street through 12th around 11:30 A.M. Tuesday morning.

“They were running a jackhammer - bang bang bang, and all of a sudden we heard a whoosh of air," said Joe Fambrough, with Roger Bernard’s Guitar House.

“We heard the gas escaping, I didn’t realize that was the sound,” said Sue Messina, a manager at Security Finance.

Messina said they heard the gas noise for about two hours before Duncan Fire started making their rounds to businesses, prompting them to evacuate.

“He was in about three or three times in ten minutes, so we knew then it was important to just get the heck out here,” said Messina.

And it wasn't just the sound that was bothersome, it was the stench...

“You could smell it, not at first because of the wind, but after a while yeah it was starting to collect, you could smell it in the shop,” said Fambrough.

CenterPoint’s district director said he apologizes to the businesses impacted by the leak, and subsequent power outage, but standard protocol calls for steps before turning the gas off.

“This was routine maintenance on our system, and with that you have tools and equipment you work with, and we had an inadvertent release of gas with one of those tools. Our emergency procedures within the company say that we immediately clear the area, and make it safe before we proceed.” said Keith Marple.

Marple said their main concern with a leak is the gas mixing with anything that can spark a fire, and he said that’s why such a large area was impacted.

“Always a source of ignition is a concern, that’s the reason you move away from the leak and remove any sources of ignition," said Marple.

At around 3 P.M., Duncan Emergency Management announced on their Facebook that all the clear had been given and businesses were allowed to open their doors back up.

While many remained closed, the signs on some of their doors indicated they would be back open Wednesday.

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