50 Londoners return home after gas leak prompts evacuation off Richmond Row

It was a chaotic morning for roughly 50 residents in London, Ont., who were forced to evacuate for about an hour after a gas leak on Albert Street, just west of Richmond Street.

According to the fire department, “a number of 911 calls” came in around 11:15 a.m. Thursday reporting the smell of natural gas in the area.

READ MORE: Short-lived gas leak forces evacuation of 25 Londoners

“We evacuated with assistance of police approximately 50 people. They were housed in two LTC buses. They’ve returned to their residences now,” platoon chief Shawn Fitzgerald told Global News.

“The evacuation was for about an hour until the gas leak was stopped. But there’s repairs that are needed to be done which will take about another hour.”

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Fitzgerald told Global News at roughly 1 p.m. that Richmond Street had already reopened, and that Albert Street was expected to be open by 2 p.m. Thursday.

The cause of the gas leak is not yet known and will be up to Enbridge to determine.

Fitzgerald said social distancing guidelines amid the novel coronavirus pandemic make dealing with such events tricky for first responders.

“We’re dealing with getting the people out to a safe location as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Sometimes that physical distancing is not possible during that time, but once we get people… into a safe zone, then we start to turn our minds towards how do we maintain their safety on an ongoing basis with distancing being a priority.”

In this case, he said the displaced residents were still able to engage in social distancing aboard the two transit buses.

“Our emergency management folks are tuned into this as well, as you can well imagine,” Fitzgerald said. “In the support of any type of evacuation like this, they’re on hand with masks and gloves and other personal protective equipment that might be required.”

How long does social distancing take to work?

How long does social distancing take to work?

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