Gas Leak Shuts Down Maryland Businesses

Transformer also catches fire

By Darcy Spencer and Arlene Borenstein
|  Monday, Feb 22, 2010  |  Updated 10:45 AM EDT
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Gas Leak Closes Down Maryland Businesses

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Gas Leak Closes Down Maryland Businesses

An inconvenient day for some folks in Laurel, Maryland after a gas leak shuts down businesses and leaves residents in the dark.
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Nearly a dozen businesses in a strip mall were evacuated in Laurel, Md. after a gas leak.

Around 1:45 p.m. Sunday, crews responded to the Laurel Shopping Center off Route 1 after an underground gas line erupted, according to Prince George's County fire officials.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company also responded to the scene because a transponder caught fire during the incident.

"They have a construction crew here dealing with the natural gas leak. It is underground outside the structure," said county fire department Major Dennis Wood. "An electrical crew with BGE is also dealing with the transformer that failed, which is leaking oil and our hazmat units are there assisting them with that operation."

Chuck E. Cheese's was one of the stores that closed down as a result of the gas leak. Some families had to cancel birthday parties, including one for Cary Bethea's eight-year-old granddaughter.

"Our granddaughter came out to celebrate her birthday and we found this gas line break here and so we have to find some other location," said Bethea. 

Many residents who live near the shopping center lost electricity, but power has since been restored.

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