Xcel Energy crews have shut off a gas leak at Belmar Shopping Center in Lakewood that caused some people to self-evacuate from stores and businesses, while others sheltered inside buildings on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The incident began about 1:30 p.m. when a construction crew reportedly drilling holes for telecommunications lines ruptured a 2-inch natural gas line, said West Metro Fire Rescue Incident Commander Bruce Dikken.
The ruptured line near Whole Foods Market forced the closure of the intersection of South Vance Street and West Alaska Drive, Dikken said.
It's a large shopping center, and Nordstrom Rack, Target and Staples stores and other shops and offices were near the leak site.
Dikken said some shoppers voluntarily left Whole Foods and other businesses. But authorities decided it was safer to have customers and staff shelter inside stores and offices, instead of evacuating the shopping center.
By 2:30 p.m., fire crews allowed business to resume inside Whole Foods and other businesses, Dikken said. But firefighters kept the area behind Whole Foods clear longer, until they confirmed with air monitors that the gas had dissipated.
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