A gas line leak on West Broadway in Red Lion closed down one of the main streets in town, about about the time as school was being dismissed.
A gas line leak on West Broadway in Red Lion closed down one of the main streets in town, about about the time as school was being dismissed. (Bil Bowden photo)

Some Red Lion residents were forced from their homes Tuesday after a gas leak on West Broadway.

All told, 15 homes were evacuated after the leak was reported just before 3 p.m., said Russell Bedell, spokesman for Columbia Gas.

Residents were allowed to return to their homes about 9 p.m.

"Everybody (was) back in their homes tonight," Bedell said Tuesday night.

The incident closed West Broadway from First Avenue to Country Club Road for several hours as crews fixed the leak.

More leaks: First responders were dispatched to a home in the 600 block of West Broadway after someone called York County 911 saying there was an odor of natural gas.

Firefighters conducted gas readings in a number of homes and initially evacuated four houses, said Red Lion Fire Chief Joseph Yanhke.

However, additional homes had to be evacuated as Columbia Gas crews working to fix the leak discovered there were more leaks than previously thought.

"We've identified four leaks on a four-inch bare steel gas main," Bedell said.

By 8:30 p.m., Columbia Gas had fixed two of the leaks and were fixing the other two, he said.

The main lies under West Broadway, and crews had to dig up sections of the road to get to the leaks.

Affected residents were encouraged to go to the nearby Red Lion fire station to keep warm as temperatures hovered around the freezing point, but many opted to stay with neighbors, Yanhke said.

No injuries or illnesses were reported, he added.

Upgrades: Gas was not cut off to customers in the area, Bedell said.

It's not clear what caused the leaks on the old steel gas lines, he said.

"There's no way to determine what caused the leak," Bedell said.

Columbia Gas is in the midst of pipeline upgrades throughout the county.

During the first quarter of this year, the natural gas provider said it will spend $3.4 million on four projects to revamp five miles of its infrastructure.

Two of the projects are in York City while one is in West York and the other is in Hanover. No upgrade work is being done in Red Lion at this time.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.