Crews working to fix flooding along Lee Street in Hollywood hit a gas feeder line Wednesday morning, forcing the evacuation of the residential block and several streets to close.
The gas leak began at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at 1875 Lee St. when a crew excavating the street to install a catch basin hit the line, said Joel Medina, Hollywood battalion chief.
Firefighters began knocking on doors sending residents out of their homes and down the street — away from the leak — to wait for the all-clear.
Lee, Thomas and Scott streets were shut down.
Nick Rivas, who lives in an apartment on Lee Street, was about to leave for work when he heard the knock.
“We must have gotten out of there in two minutes,” said Rivas, who said he saw a black cloud of gas. “It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.”
The fire department attempted to plug the 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch hole, but it was unsuccessful, Medina said.
“There was too much pressure,” he said.
Crews from TECO arrived and chipped away at the pavement to fix the pipe without causing sparks, Medina said.
By about 11:30 a.m. Rivas, his daughter and grandson were allowed back in their home, but couldn’t drive until the road was repaired.
The streets reopened shortly after.
Medina said they were lucky that the gas didn’t ignite.
“A gas leak could be very dangerous,” he said.