Two homes and three small businesses were evacuated yesterday after contractors hit two natural gas lines while working at Summit and 117th streets in Point Place, a Columbia Gas spokesman said.
The contractors hit the intermediate pressure lines - one three-inch, the other, an eight-inch - between 9:30 and 10 a.m., spokesman Gina Thompson said.
The homes, each occupied by one resident at the time of the leak, and businesses were evacuated because of gas blowing in their direction. Gas service was shut down at one of the residences for safety reasons because of its proximity to the leak, Ms. Thompson said.
Gas spewed for about two hours.
Although gas company crews could have immediately shut the gas off, they didn't because doing so would have cut service to the entire community, Ms. Thompson said.
Those evacuated were able to return to their homes and businesses shortly after noon.