City crews hit an unmarked, abandoned gas main Wednesday in Ashland, Mo., causing it to leak. Fire and police departments evacuated the residences and businesses in the surrounding area.
The main was located on the 100 block of North Main Street. It broke at approximately 9:30 a.m., according to a news release from the Ashland Police Department. The fire department received the first call about it at 9:34 a.m.
Officials evacuated residents and businesses within a 400-foot radius around the leak, which included the downtown district and Southern Boone County middle and high schools.
Route M, the highway that runs through Ashland, was also closed off during the evacuation and for a couple minutes after the area was cleared.
According to Ashland City Administrator Kelly Henderson, Ameren Corporation owned the gas main, and their crews took an hour and a half to shut off the supply to the main. Businesses and residents were allowed to return to their respective stores and homes at 11:15 a.m.
According to the police department’s release, there were no injuries or property damage sustained from the leak.
The schools were informed of the leak within minutes of its start, said Charlotte Miller, superintendent of the Southern Boone County School District. Students of the high school and all other surrounding schools within the 400-foot radius were evacuated to the high school’s track, and parents were informed of the event.
Once the area was cleared, she said the fire department checked all of the school buildings’ air qualities and gave staff and students permission to return to their respective schools. The school day continued on as normal once everyone had returned.
“The evacuation was efficient and timely,” Miller said. “Everyone communicated clearly.”
The school district kept in contact with the fire chief for the rest of the day as a safety precaution.
Residents and businesses owners were also advised by the police to go outside until they were told the area was safe.