(WVLT) - One lane of Northshore Drive in West Knoxville is still shut down after a gas main break. The break happened on Northshore Drive near Tobler Road just before midnight Wednesday. The Knoxville Fire Department and KUB Crews arrived to fix it and had to dig up the road to get to the gas line. They had the break fixed by 2:30am and are now working to refill the hole and repave the road.
Crews had to evacuate one family that lived closed to the dig site and they are now at an area hotel. Darrell Whitaker with the Knoxville Fire Department said many people living in the area were concerned because of the strong smell of gas. "It was the strongest odor I have taken in since I've been a firefighter. It was a good distance away. I don't have an exact distance figure but I didn't see any red lights as I approached but I could smell it very strong."
Crews did not turn off the natural gas line because it could have caused a major fire hazard. Whitaker says when they turned it back on, the pilot lights in area homes would turn on and would raise the risk of an explosion. They also had to take special care to make sure the gas did not leak into the sewer lines and cause even more problems.
"We don't want those kinds of things to happen, so we want to make sure the sewer lines are clear and the seepage into the ground has dissipated," said Whitaker
If you live in the area and wake up to a strong smell of gas in your home, do not turn on any electrical equipment and open the windows. If the smell is very strong, call 911. They will determine if the fire department or KUB needs to come to your home to check out the problem.