ENFIELD, Conn. (WGGB) — Customers and employees from half a dozen Enfield stores were sent to their cars around 10AM. Someone inside Dicks Sporting Goods called 911 saying they could smell natural gas.
“Upon arrival they started getting complaints from the other occupancies in the plaza,” Mark Zarcaro of the Enfield Fire Dept. said.
Everyone was evacuated.
“Same gas line feeds this whole plaza from the break here at Town Fair Tire all the way to end of the plaza on Elm Street,” Zarcaro said. “A separate feed for TGI Friday’s.”
Firefighters surrounded the large plaza, police officers blocked every entrance for about two hours. Because of the closures, stores and restaurants couldn’t benefit from the school vacation week crowds.
“We are headed into Dick’s to do a little bit of after christmas shopping,” Tim DeGreenia said.
“Doing some work and I ran out of paint so I have to come to home depot to get some paint and obviously can’t get in there,” Al Thibodeau said.
Firefighters say they always take gas leaks seriously, but given last month’s explosion in Springfield, extra precautions are now taken.
“You get a little complacent, you come to smell all the time,” Zarcaro said. “With the situation in Springfield a few weeks ago, you just can’t be too careful.”
Something even those who were inconvenienced could agree with.
“What happened if I was in there and the place blew up?,” Thibodeau asked.
“It’s obvious with the apparent gas leak that they are taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe,” DeGreenia said.
The stores were gradually reopened early Friday afternoon. Yankee Gas spokeswoman Tricia Taskey says after a lengthy investigation, no leak was found. Firefighters on scene say the smell may have traveled downwind from a source somewhere else in town.