Buildings evacuated after 2nd-alarm gas leak - KCTV5 News


Residents allowed back home following gas leak south of Plaza

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Authorities allowed residents to return home after evacuating them from their apartment building because of a gas leak.

On high alert, firefighters and police rushed to the Kirkwood Condominiums just after 3:30 p.m. Saturday near 50th and Central streets, an area several blocks southeast of where an apparent gas line rupture caused a deadly explosion that destroyed JJ's Restaurant.

Kansas City Fire Department spokesman James Garrett said that fire crews confirmed a gas leak near the apartment building and had it evacuated and cordoned off the area.

The number of people evacuated were unknown, but Garrett says it amounted to lots of homeowners.

"When we take control of the scene, we try to meticulously go to every unit, make sure that we contact those people, let them know the danger, and, generally, we don't have a problem in getting people evacuated, if they know there is some imminent danger," Garrett said.

Firefighters also covered a several-block radius near West 49th and Central streets to find the leak.  Authorities let other surrounding homeowners and businesses know about the potentially dangerous situation.

After the tragedy at JJ's, firefighters aren't taking any chances.

"We made sure Missouri Gas Energy was involved very early, and made sure that if we had any levels, in any residential area, or anywhere, that we evacuated that area," Garrett said.

No injuries were reported Saturday.

The smell of gas lingered in the area Saturday evening, and the fire department had not said if they determined the source of the leak.  However, authorities said the gas was turned off to the building and had not been turned back on. 

Residents were allowed to go back inside their homes about 7:30 p.m., but since there was no heat, it was expected many people secured alternative lodging for the night.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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