By Heather Abraham

MOUNT LEBANON (KDKA) – Businesses were evacuated in Mount Lebanon Wednesday morning after a gas line was accidentally cut.

The gas leak shut down a portion of Washington Road while a few businesses were evacuated. The fire department said there was a high risk of an explosion due to the leak.

For about an hour, gas was flowing freely out of a cut line.

“It was a major gas leak inside and we could not isolate the shut off.  So, we had to evacuate and take things under control,” Mount Lebanon Deputy Fire Chief Joe Thuransky said.

Crews working on a new restaurant accidentally cut the wrong pipe.

“They were doing work inside the building, demolition work inside the building. And what they thought I believe was a steam line for the boiler, they accidentally mistook for the gas line and cut the gas line,” Thuransky said.

The fire department said one of the workers quickly called 911. Firefighters went inside the building and got extremely high readings. They finally found a shut off in the basement.

However, even with the gas off, the risk of an explosion went up.

“It actually gets more dangerous because the gas levels were too rich. Once we shut it down and start ventilating with fresh air, the gas levels come back down and there’s an explosive range that we need to be very careful of because any spark could set it off,” Thuransky said.

The Magistrate Court was one of the buildings evacuated and cancelled morning hearings.

Some of the other businesses weren’t open at the time of the leak.

“All the building owners here have been notified and we’ve also let them know it’s safe to reoccupy the building,” Thuransky said.


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