West Newbury families evacuated after propane gas leak

Courtesy photoLeaking propane gas is burned off by workers in a West Newbury neighborhood Monday after an underground storage tank started leaking. 

WEST NEWBURY — About 10 families had to evacuate their homes Monday afternoon and evening after a construction vehicle damaged an underground propane gas tank about noon near the Drakes Landing complex off Daley Drive, according to Fire Chief Michael Dwyer.

Dwyer said the construction vehicle clipped the 800-gallon tank's refilling section, the only portion above ground, resulting in a gas leak.

As a precaution, nearby families were evacuated and a portion of Daley Drive was closed for about 10 hours. Some families were put up at hotels while others returned after the leak was repaired.

Workers from the propane tank's owner, Townsend, attempted to pump the tank but were unsuccessful. Instead, they used a tank flare to burn off the gas, according to Dwyer. 

"It was a long process but nobody was hurt," Dwyer said, adding that the incident appears to be an accident. 

Assisting local firefighters were units from Groveland and a command vehicle from the Amesbury Fire Department. Newburyport firefighters covered the West Newbury station during the lengthy call.

Dwyer praised the work of his firefighters and thanked area departments for helping out.

"A great team effort," Dwyer said. 

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