AMHERST – A section of downtown Amherst is closed Tuesday afternoon because of a natural gas leak, with Amherst Police and the local fire department blocking traffic and encouraging motorists away from the scene.
Shortly after 3 p.m the fire department responded to the report a natural gas line was broke on Eddy Street.
One witness, who says she was asked to leave her apartment, says the broken line is in front of her home.
“They were working on the road and hit the natural gas line,” Shawna Fisher said. “I can’t even get into my home now.“
Police have blocked traffic from entering the affected area and downtown shoppers were being asked to move their vehicles away from the scene.
Gas flowing from the severed natural gas line was halted by Heritage Gas a little before 4 p.m.
"We are working with the fire department to make sure any of the buildings in the area are secure, with the intent to get people back in the area and resume normal activities in the area," said Chris MacAulay, Heritage Gas operations Manager
MacAulay says the leak was isolated and quickly brought under control.
"Once we’ve confirmed the site is secure, then our personnel will do the repair and get service back to the area."
MacAulay says a smaller gas line was severed and five customers are currently without service.
"We should have the repair done and gas back in the system within the next couple of hours."
Contractors working in the area severed the gas line.
"They were the ones who called us to indicate they may have hit a gas line. All the details will be part of our investigation," said MacAuley.
He says the key to stemming a gas leak is to have a good working relationship with the fire department.
"We rely on them and they rely on us in these situations," said MacAulay. "Overall I think it was a very positive response along with the fire department."