by: Tom Regan Updated:ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga —
A major gas leak in downtown Conyers Thursday forced the evacuation of government buildings, businesses and nearly a dozen homes for several hours
Authorities say a crew hired by the county water department accidentally struck the two inch pipe while digging, causing clouds of flammable gas to spew into the air.
"It's not just frustrating, it's scary. You don't know if you're going to have an explosion or what," said homeowner John Upchurch.
Upchurch told Channel 2's Tom Regan he was at work when the gas main broke and his wife was out of the house running errands. After police set up an evacuation zone, Upchurch said she could not return home. The couple was deeply concerned about their dogs and other pets getting exposed to noxious gases and the risk of an explosion.
"I just wanted to get my dogs out of there, to make sure they were safe," said Upchurch.
The homeowner said he left work after hearing about the situation and found a way to check up on his animals.
"I went through about six back yards and snuck in and pulled them out," said Upchruch.
Police said Thursday afternoon the gas had been cut off and people could return to their homes and businesses in the Olde Town area.
Officials said no one was hurt. They say there may be a residual odor, but it’s safe to return to homes and businesses in the area.
Upchurch says he took action to make sure there was no lingering health risk in his home.
"The gas company came in and checked the gas level. You could smell it in the house, but they said it was safe," he said.
Crews worked to replace the broken pipe. The Rockdale County Administrative Building, which closed because of the leak, will reopen on Friday.