MANCHESTER, NH – Several businesses along a busy stretch of Hanover Street, between Pine and Union streets, were closed Wednesday after a gas leak was reported.
According to District Fire Chief Al Poulin, a report of natural gas odor came in at about 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 in the area of 179 Hanover St. Arriving companies encountered a heavy presence of natural gas and, after initial investigation, found gas to be coming from the area right where a utility pole had been installed earlier in the day.
“Gas was actually being emitted from the ground, the highest readings coming from the same hole where the utility pole had just been installed,” Poulin said.
Gas was leaking into the basements of several businesses, including City Tailor Shop and Madear’s restaurant, which share a common cellar. Fire personnel evacuated those two buildings, as well as Veranda. Poulin said initially officials suspected the leak might be related to a new gas line being installed further down the street.
However, it was later learned that when JRC Company hand-dug a utility pole for Eversource, crews must have nicked an old gas line, Poulin said.
“Dig Safe marked out the street, and there was no gas in that given section, so it may have been an old existing gas line from years and years ago, from whenThe Chateau had a building where the patio of the Veranda is now,” Poulin said.
Crews from Liberty Utilities were on the scene for several hours working to correct the issue.