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Gas leak forces store evacuation at the Arboretum

Firefighters rest in front of a rehabilitation vehicle after working on a cut gas line. The cut line shut down two businesses in the Arboretum Shopping Center in south Charlotte Tuesday.
Firefighters rest in front of a rehabilitation vehicle after working on a cut gas line. The cut line shut down two businesses in the Arboretum Shopping Center in south Charlotte Tuesday. ebacon@charlotteobserver.com

Utility crews digging for a fiber optic cable cut a gas line at the Arboretum retail center on Providence Road in south Charlotte Tuesday morning, causing a few businesses to temporarily close.

Battalion Chief Dan Moore said that it took nearly two hours to shut off the gas line after receiving the emergency call at 11:10 a.m., while firefighters who responded to the scene waited for a Piedmont Gas dig crew to come with necessary equipment to get below the concrete.

Michael’s and Cajun Yard Dog were closed due to the leak and will be able to reopen when crews finish fixing the line, which Moore said would take at least three more hours.

No injuries were reported.

Crews of firefighters could spend a maximum of 10 minutes at a time working to fix the leak due to the heat. Moore said that in the case of a house fire, crews might only be able to work for five minutes at a time. Their suits and equipment make the job even hotter.

“It’s like having a couple plastic bags on and a winter coat and going out and running a couple miles,” Moore said. “It strains you.”

A special rehabilitation vehicle, owned by the fire department, was available to the 23 firefighters on the scene, as well as medics. The vehicle includes three beds, fans, water, Gatorade and equipment to check vital signs. The rehab truck is a place for firefighters to rest and cool off, fire department personnel said.

Bacon: 705-358-5725; Twitter: @erindbacon

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