Gasoline fumes from sewer force Plano businesses to evacuate

The Environmental Protection Agency is assisting state and local authorities to locate the source of a gas leak hours after it was initially reported Friday afternoon.

The leak triggered an evacuation in a very busy Plano shopping area near the Central Expressway. 

People staying at a Motel 6 were asked to shelter in place, and nearby stores were told to evacuate after a call about a gasoline odor turned into a potentially dangerous situation.

"What happened was our crews arrived on scene and found out quickly it was a pretty strong smell," said Plano Fire Lt. Daniel Daly.

The northbound service road of Highway 75 between Park Boulevard and Parker Road was shut down. The Plano Fire and Rescue hazmat team took over.

"They realized we had more than an odor investigation that most likely we had a leak," Daly said.

Out of caution, officials evacuated shoppers and employees from nearby stores. The concern is the fumes in the air could trigger an explosion.

Motel 6 was next to evacuate. SKY 4 shows officials knocking on doors. 

Maria Flores and her family were one of them. 

"We were told to evacuate. So we just started getting all of our stuff into our car," she said. "By the time we were all done just getting the last basket out, we were told just to stay in place." 

Daly says this is because the hazmat air monitor equipment showed air quality levels dropped to a safe range. 

"The agencies now have shifted their focus from evacuating to investigating and discovering the source and trying to clean up what is currently in the system," he said.

With the immediate threat out of the way, the investigation turned to finding and stopping the leak.

"So the danger is minimal if anything to the public. Thankfully, it’s underground. That’s the issue we’re facing right now," Daly said.

Northbound 75 service road corridor between Park and Parker will remain closed until crews make significant progress on finding the source of the leak and containing it.