There was a big scare in a local neighborhood after a crew replacing a water line accidentally punctured a line carrying natural gas.

Families were told to leave their homes for safety as crews scrambled for a fix.

"I went outside and I could smell gas," said Michelle Duncan, Flint resident.

Michelle and Charlie Duncan live two doors down from where crews were working to replace lead-tainted water service lines Tuesday morning.

"And there was like a big water spray coming from that hole and all these guys are getting out real fast," Michelle Duncan said.

The Duncans had to immediately evacuate their homes after crews struck a main gas line prompting the evacuation of three city streets.

Residents were told they couldn't even start their vehicles. So the Duncans walked down the road and waited for several hours in borrowed lawn chairs, smelling toxic gas and wiping their eyes.

"It's a gas line that had a double feed, which means gas was coming in from both directions," Flint Fire Chief Raymond Barton said.

Fire crews stood by to assist while crews from Consumers Energy worked to repair the line.

"They found some gas that was above the recommended levels inside the house, but because it was a main gas line we evacuated this street and the streets north and south of this street for one block," Barton said.

Even after the main leak was stopped, people who live around the area said they were not comfortable going back in their homes.

"I worry about our house blowing up," Charlie Duncan said.

Families were able to return to their homes after several hours.

Barton said the incident was the first time city fire crews had to respond to a major gas leak caused by water line replacement. He said the city's outdated records, which have caused problems in the past, may be to blame once again.

"When they were tracing the water lines and some of the issues with records and old records and not knowing where all the lines and which one was copper. I feel like this was the same thing with the gas lines being put in there. Who knows where all the lines are," Barton said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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