Families return home after gas leak prompts evacuations in Donelson

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Crews worked all day and late into the night to repair a gas line struck by a contractor working in Donelson Saturday.

Dozens of people within a half-mile radius of Donelson Pike and Emery Drive had to evacuate their homes and businesses shut down for the majority of the day.

Shan Dyer, one of the evacuees, said, “I got on the phone and called 911.”

Dyer was one of many residents forced out of their homes and left sitting in their car nearby.

“I’ve been running around just visiting people,” Dyer said.

Shan Dyer was working in the yard when she noticed the strong gas odor Saturday morning.

“We were working with some neighbors outside and he was saying, ‘Smell that smell’?” Dyer said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s gas.’ We could see the haze caused by the gas. We were cutting some wood and some tin and he said, ‘Stop that, because it will spark’.”

Nashville Assistant Fire Chief, Walter Demonbreun, said, “We have about 15 to 20 crews out here from fire departments.”

Dozens of crews from the Nashville Fire Department, Piedmont Natural Gas and Metro police all responded to the gas leak call.

“It’s a four inch major gas line, high volume of pressure,” said Assistant Chief Demonbreun.

Metro Water officials said that during construction work associated with the Cumberland City Low Water Transmission Main Project, which they have been working on much of the year, the contractor, Garney Construction, hit the gas line, causing a site that could be seen and smelled from afar.

“There was a lot of dust from where they was digging it was blowing you know 20 -30 feet in the air,” Assistant Chief Demonbreun said.

Officials said you can’t take a gas leak lightly. You never know what could ignite it.

Said Assistant Chief Demonbreun about what could cause possible explosions from gas, “A spark or anything, it could be a hot water heater in a home.”

“A small spark could just blow,” evacuee Shan Dyer said. “As far as when it blows, I don’t know how far away, but it could damage a lot of businesses and homes.”