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Gas leak closes downtown South Bend, Indiana

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A gas line was ruptured by a construction crew Thursday morning
  • More than 3,000 people were affected by the leak, fire chief says

(CNN) -- A natural gas leak shut down several blocks of downtown South Bend, Indiana, on Thursday, forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 people, the city's fire chief said.

A construction crew hit a 4-inch high-pressure gas line Thursday morning, and the nature of the buildings in the area made it hard to shut off the line, Chief Jim Lopez told CNN. That spurred authorities to evacuate five square blocks of downtown South Bend for most of the four hours it took to shut down the leak.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 people were affected by the evacuation. Workers were let back into the buildings briefly to retrieve their belongings, but the buildings then were closed for the day and employees were sent home, Lopez said.

The leak was stopped shortly before 1 p.m., he said. There were no injuries.

South Bend, about 140 miles north of Indianapolis, is home to the University of Notre Dame. The school was not affected by the leak, Lopez said.