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Crews Shut Off Gas Leak In St. Paul

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – Crews have shut off a gas leak that closed down University Avenue in St. Paul Thursday morning and early afternoon.

St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said fire crews were notified by Xcel Energy about  a 12-inch gas main that started leaking around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. The leak happened at the intersection with Fry Street.

Xcel Energy spokesman Tom Hoen says crews were working on the gas main for the light-rail project when the cap on the end of main blew off.

“It’s a pretty large leak,” Zaccard said. “(There’s) quite a hiss coming from it.”

The leak closed the stretch between Snelling and Fairview Avenues. Zaccard said the gas was venting into the air, but the wind was calm which helped the situation. The pipe was not cut or damaged due to digging.

Emergency crews evacuated 12 nearby buildings as a precaution, but said no significant gas levels were found inside.

At least one bus has been brought in for people who were displaced from their home or business. No one was injured.

Hoen said the gas was turned off after about two hours, allowing workers to start determining why it happened and begin repairs. He also said crews will go door-to-door to relight pilot lights for some 1,200 customers affected by the gas shut-off.

WCCO’s Adam Carter Interviews Steve Zaccard

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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