UPDATED: Gas leak causes temporary closure of East Main Road

The following post was updated at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — A gas leak Monday morning caused the temporary closure of East Main Road from Hedly Street to Turnpike Avenue (from Portsmouth Town Hall to Clements’ Marketplace), according to the Portsmouth Police Department. 

According to the Portsmouth Police Department, East Main Road has re-opened to traffic, as of 11:30 a.m. Monday. 

Portsmouth police and fire responded to an area near 2525 East Main Road on Monday, May 15, at approximately 10 a.m. for a report of a ruptured gas line.   

A contractor digging in the area caused the ruptured gas line, according to officials. 

National Grid was called to the scene and “notified officials there is no gas shut off,” according to the Portsmouth Police Department. 

As a result, East Main Road from Hedly Street to Turnpike Avenue was shut down until the gas line could be repaired.  

East Main Road was originally expected to be shut down for 2 to 3 hours. 

The Portsmouth Fire Department released the following press release Monday afternoon. 

At 10 a.m. on 5/15/17, Portsmouth Fire Department received a call reporting a gas leak at 2525 East Main Road.

Crews arrived one minute later to find that a service line had been ruptured by an operating backhoe.  Workers were operating the equipment at the location of a property under renovation; formally a gas station and soon to be occupied by a real estate business.

National Grid gas crews were notified immediately.  The gas leak could not be immediately controlled due to the lack of shut-offs.  In an effort to minimize the danger to the public and to reduce the number of possible ignition sources evacuations and road closures were ordered.  East Main Road was closed from the Town Hall to Turnpike Avenue; neighboring businesses were evacuated during the leak.

Fire crews established a water supply by connecting to the closest hydrant and deployed fire attack lines in preparation for a potential explosion.  Firefighters used multi-gas meters to measure the levels of flammable gases around the leak and in nearby structures.   

National Grid arrived on scene around 11 and began work to secure the leak. 

With the area made safe, evacuated individuals were allowed back into the buildings and the roads around the leak were reopened.

The last firefighters left the scene at 11:26 am.

Chief Michael Cranson would like to thank Naval Station Newport for covering the Town of Portsmouth while its responders were occupied.  The Chief would also like to thank Middletown Fire Department for transporting a patient from a separate medical emergency that occurred during the leak. 

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