CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A large gas leak reported shortly before noon Thursday that led to the sheltering of 35 people who live nearby has been secured.
Crews responded after a contractor was working in the area and struck a natural gas line at Robert Mills manor near Magazine and Wilson Streets, according to SCE&G.
"Large firetrucks, the battalion chief trucks, cop cars, everything sort of swarmed the street," Charleston resident Zac Hyde said. Hyde was nearby when the natural gas line was hit.
Charleston Police said the line break happened directly around the old jail on Beaufain Street, which was closed to pedestrians and drivers.
"People were standing out of their doors looking. I knew it was gas so I didn't stick around but others were curious. Then the fire department came and said you have to evacuate the area. Everyone grabbed what they could and took off," United Postal Service mailman Jack O'Brien said. O'Brien was delivering mail in the neighborhood when the gas line was hit. "The guy called 911 and city workers were already here, the fire engines came, everyone jumped on it. It was a very good response. They did a nice job handling the situation."
At one point, 35 residents of the public housing complex were being sheltered at the Fielding Funeral Home while workers secured the line, police said.
Witnesses said dozens of people were forced to leave the area.
"All of the sudden there was a loud hissing and I thought it was a busted water main. I stepped out and saw the working crew running away from the situation and they told me to evacuate. Then firefighters pounded on the door and told us we had to evacuate," nearby neighbor Chris Murray said. Murray was evacuated from his downtown Charleston home on Franklin Street by firefighters after the natural gas line was hit.
As of 3:20 p.m., police said the residents being sheltered at the funeral home were returning to their homes.