PERQUIMANS Co., N.C. - People in the Town of Hertford are back inside their homes after being evacuated due to a natural gas leak caused by a falling tree Monday.
Just before noon, the Hertford Fire Department responded to a tree that fell on a power line at the intersection of Market Street and Edenton Road Street while it was being cut, causing a power pole to break. Public Works for the Town of Hertford was also requested on scene to assess and repair the damaged pole.
At 2:08 p.m., the Perquimans County 911 Center received a call advising that a two-inch natural gas line had been hit during the repair of the damaged pole. Officials say this did not cause any disruption to service for Piedmont Natural Gas customers.
About 75 residents who lived within a half mile downwind of the ruptured line were immediately evacuated, and a shelter was established at the Perquimans County Recreation Center. Around 6 p.m., Piedmont Natural Gas said the natural gas leak had been stopped, the area was safe and that residents could return home.
Officials say residents in the area may continue to smell an additive in natural gas, mercaptan, for an extended period as repairs are finalized. This odor is not harmful.
For added safety, residents were given the option to report to the Hertford Fire Department by 7 p.m., where an escort from the department and Piedmont Natural Gas could accompany them home.
If you have a concern that is not life-threatening, you are asked to call the Non-Emergency Communications line at 252-426-5751.