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Gas leak closes intersection for 10 hours

A crew from Minnesota Energy Resources digs for a valve to isolate a gas leak Wednesday morning on Third Avenue Southeast near 16th Street in Rochester.

A natural gas leak led to the closure of a southeast Rochester intersection for about 10 hours on Wednesday.

The break occurred at about 8:25 a.m. near Third Avenue and 16th Street Southeast as a contractor tried to install an anchor for a fiber optic line. The crew's auger struck a 4-inch gas main, according to Deputy Chief Steven Belau of the Rochester Fire Department. The leak was stopped at about 3 p.m., and the intersection reopened at 7 p.m.

Traffic was detoured around the scene until the intersection reopened.

Firefighters monitored gas levels in nearby businesses, as a crew from Minnesota Energy Resources worked to shut off valves in the area to stop the leak.

An early concern was that gas might leak into an underground electric vault and a spark could cause an explosion. No buildings were evacuated, the fire department said.


"If you hear a boom," Belau told a reporter at the scene, "look up," because a manhole cover might be about to fall from the sky.

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