Clare Gas Leak Temporarily Closes Road, Evacuates Nearby Businesses

A busy downtown road — shut down after a gas leak in a building.

Tonight, that road is back open and the gas is gone.

This is an update to a story we brought you today at noon.

The leak closed down part of downtown Clare for more than four hours.

Crews worked quickly to patch the leak and keep people safe.

A service line broke at an old car dealership.

That gas leak shut down about four blocks of McEwan Street in Clare.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman spoke with crews on the scene…and businesses stuck in the middle.

———————————————–

Right away, fire crews and police evacuated the buildings around the source of the leak.

Then, they shut down the road and that impacted several businesses.

"At first, I thought it was an accident but then when I saw the police cars, I thought, ‘Oh, I wonder if it’s a gas leak,’" says Lisa Walworth, salesperson at Willow Classic Ladies Apparel.

Orange cones blocked off a whole portion of downtown Clare…

Lisa walworth works at Willow Classic Ladies Apparel. She was caught in the middle.

"It’s usually slow on the weekdays early in the morning and then we’d get more people later in the day but because of this it’s now later in the day and we haven’t had anybody," Walworth says.

Construction crews are renovating this old Ford dealership.

Someone made one wrong move.

Soon, the stench of gas filled the air.

"Fellas were working on the outside of the building, putting siding on the building and ruptured the gas service going to the building," says Clare Fire Chief James Chapman.

Heather Krueger from Gladwin also found herself looking for a route around the cones.

She works at the Clare Party Store, kitty-corner from the dealership.

"I saw this was all closed off because I usually come straight through here and I had to go around and through the parking lot to actually get to work," Krueger says.

She had to find another way to work.

She got there — but no one else could.

"There’s usually regulars here that are already here when I get in," Krueger says. "You know, they greet me, ‘Hello. Hi. How are you doing?’ I came in and it was dead."

The fire chief says it was for good reason.

"The big thing is that building being full of gas in the event there was an explosion," Chapman says. "We don’t want anybody in close proximity to the building."

As for Lisa at Willow, the slow day had a bright side.

"I got all of my Christmas decorations put away, which was nice," Walworth says. "It makes a good for catching up on stuff that I don’t normally do on a regular basis."

With the help of DTE, crews were able to get the road back open to the public early this afternoon.

No one was hurt.