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CenterPoint Energy crews worked on a blocked-off section of West 54th St. in Edina on Thursday night after a natural gas leak.

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Edina gas leak capped, but not before evacuations

  • Article by: SUZANNE ZIEGLER and MARY LYNN SMITH
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • January 7, 2011 - 6:56 AM

CenterPoint Energy workers capped the source of a natural gas leak in Edina's South Harriet Park neighborhood Thursday evening that earlier had prompted voluntary evacuations of several homes.

The leak occurred just blocks from the area where a home exploded because of a gas leak in February 2010.

Just after 4 p.m., residents of an area near 54th Street between Minnehaha and Wooddale avenues were advised to leave their homes because of the leak.

The source of the leak was isolated to an area near Minnehaha Creek and capped just before 8 p.m., said Edina Fire Department spokesman Marty Doll. Gas had leaked into an underground telephone conduit but did not escape into any storm sewers.

Doll said no one had been digging or working in the area when the odor was detected.

Asked if people were extra jittery because of memories of a natural gas explosion that destroyed an Edina home last Feb. 23, Doll said, "We're obviously taking a lot of precautions."

Evacuees were directed to the Edina County Club parking lot at 5100 Wooddale Av.

Among those who retreated to the country club for a short time was Amy Flanagan, who lives in the 5400 block of Kellogg Avenue. As she and her family had dinner and did homework at the club at about 6:30 p.m., she described how she smelled gas about 2:15 p.m. as she waited for her children to come home from school. By the time they got home, the odor was very strong, and she gathered them up and drove off, returning when she realized that she'd forgotten some hockey equipment. When she circled back, she was told about the voluntary evacuations.

"It was like deja vu -- oh my God, not again," she said. "It was frightening."

Throughout the incident, the city of Edina provided updates via its website and Twitter.

Dale Ross, who lives on Brookview Avenue, was told that it was not mandatory to evacuate, but he put his family in the minivan and left home.

"I was here when the house on 50th blew up, and I'm not taking any chances," he said.

mlsmith@startribune.com • 612-673-4788

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