Evacuations lifted following natural gas leak in downtown London, Ont.

Evacuations have been lifted and displaced residents can now return home following a natural gas leak in downtown London, Ont., on Friday.

“London Fire received a call from concerned contractors in the area of natural gas coming out of manhole covers within underground of Queens Avenue,” said Gary Mosburger, platoon chief manager with the London Fire Department. “Once we arrived here, we realized that we had a very significant natural gas leak.”

On Friday, around 11:15 a.m., the London Police Service issued multiple road closures in relation to the gas leak.

The closures have since been lifted, but originally included Waterloo Street between Dundas Street and Dufferin Avenue. Queens Avenue was closed between Waterloo and Colborne streets.

Queens Avenue at Colborne Street looking west in London, Ont., on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.

Queens Avenue at Colborne Street looking west in London, Ont., on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.

Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

Buildings within a two-block radius were evacuated “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a statement released by the City of London.

The area impacted by the natural gas leak included:

  • Princess Avenue to the north
  • Maitland Street to the east
  • King Street to the south
  • Wellington Street to the west

“A lot of people have had to evacuate those buildings, realizing that we had gas ranges within the explosive limits,” Mosburger said.

Officials said that there was no risk to public safety outside of the “immediate area.” Anyone who was evacuated due to the natural gas leak and are not in the immediate area of Queens Avenue between Wellington Street and Maitland Street, can return to their home or business, according to the city.

“This is all unusual, but police and firefighters have been really good about trying to keep us as informed as they can,” Carol Milton, who works on Waterloo Street, told Global News.

In an updated statement from the city, officials said that “it is believed the source of the leak has been located and crews are working now to isolate and rectify the situation.

Mosburger added that crews will be conducting “inspections of each property to ensure that no gas has migrated into any of those homes or businesses” in the area.

Just before 4 p.m., city officials released another statement.

“The London Fire Department has confirmed that the area impacted by the natural gas leak downtown this afternoon is now safe,” city officials said.

“All residents and businesses evacuated due to the natural gas leak can now return to their locations.”

Officials added that the intersection of Queens Avenue and Waterloo Street will remain closed “while crews continue to finalize work,” but an estimated reopening time has not been provided.

The event will have no impact on Friday night’s Lighting of the Lights in Victoria Park, which takes place nearby, according to city officials.

— with files from Global News’ Andrew Graham.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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