ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Fire Department said one of TECO's main natural gas lines was hit by a construction crew around 11 a.m. Saturday.
Crews are working to shut off the gas on West Michigan Street between South Division Avenue and I-4.
Residents and businesses across from West Michigan Street were forced to evacuate because the wind was blowing in that direction, according to officials.
"It was hanging in the air here a lot more than it is now," said Mike Pletka, who was evacuated.
Officials said the leak is a mixture of dirt and natural gas.
"We had an initial evacuation zone. Then, once we determined that we weren't going to be able to control the leak ourselves and that we were going to call in TECO, we increased that distance to somewhere around 1,000 feet," said Orlando Fire District Chief Jackson Maddox.
Officials said about 15 homes and businesses nearby were evacuated.
"Anytime there's a gas leak, there's always the potential that you could have a fire," Maddox said.
Maddox said there has to be a perfect mixture of oxygen and natural gas for the gas to ignite.
He said, what's leaking out is dissipating quickly.
"Natural gas is actually lighter than air. So, that's the great thing about it is, it does evaporate into the air. It doesn't stay low like some of the other gases that we might deal with," Maddox said.
TECO released a statement regarding the gas leak: "Our crews worked into the evening repairing damage and will be going door to door today restoring customers that are at home. If there is no one at home a door tag will be left asking customers to call us at 877-832-6747 to schedule restoration."
.@OrlandoFireDept says what you see coming out is a mixture of natural gas and dirt from the construction site. An official onscene here says the good news is natural gas dissipates better than other gases that just linger. @WFTV #WFTV #breaking pic.twitter.com/bgPXqeJfdz— Megan Cruz (@MeganWFTV) August 24, 2019
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