Evacuation lifted

NEWTON, NC (April 10, 2013) – The City of Newton issued a mandatory evacuation Wednesday morning for residents and businesses in the area from Northwest Boulevard to Main Avenue and West 21st Street to West 26th Street.

At 9:52 a.m., a city water/sewer maintenance crew was working on replacing a manhole on North Ashe Avenue when it struck a 4-inch transmission gas line located in a city sewer right of way. There are typically no gas lines in sewer right of ways, and the City crew was not aware a gas line was located in the immediate area.

The City of Newton launched a reverse 911 call to alert area residents about the gas line break, reaching 296 homes and businesses. Also, Newton firefighters went door-to-door to notify residents of the evacuation.

A Piedmont Natural Gas residential technician and transmission crew arrived at the site at approximately 11 a.m. and made the decision, for safety purposes, to access the gas line at a distance of 200 feet from the leak. Piedmont Natural Gas indicated the gas line was an old line that possibly delivered gas to a former industry located nearby. They shut off the gas by 11:45 p.m., and Newton Fire Department crews assessed buildings for residual pockets of gas.

At noon, residents were alerted they could return to the affected area. For more information, contact the Fire Department at 695-4314.