Serious gas leak causes evacuation
A car dealership and two Hillsboro houses were evacuated Thursday after Annette King returned home after six days away, opened her door, and found an unwelcome guest.
She smelled a strong odor of natural gas.
She went next door to Hillsboro Ford and asked employee Ryan Richter to sniff just to make sure she smelled what she thought she smelled.
King quickly notified Atmos Energy about the odor.
When gas company employees got to the home, they found King’s gas meter frantically spinning because so much gas was leaking inside the house.
Workers shut off the meter, evacuated the car dealership and a house on the other side of King’s, and summoned Hillsboro firefighters.
Fire chief Ben Steketee said the level of gas inside the house was very close to being explosive.
Firefighters blocked Main St. and kept an eye on the situation.
Ford employees waited outside 30 to 45 minutes for gas to dissipate enough that it was safe to reenter the dealership.
People leaving home for several days can’t turn off the gas during cold months because pipes could freeze, Steketee said.
“It could have been disastrous, but wasn’t, fortunately,” he said. “It was fortunate that she smelled it and didn’t go in. She called the gas company right away.”
Staff writer Ryan Richter contributed to this story.