Mpls. Gas Leak Shut Off, Residents Allowed to Return Home

Updated: 03/13/2013 11:15 PM KSTP.com By: Scott Theisen

A gas leak caused a major evacuation in Southwest Minneapolis Wednesday.

CenterPoint Energy officials and the Minneapolis Fire Department responded after gas was detected in the manholes. Evacuations occurred from 39th Street West to 42nd Street West and from Upton Avenue to Zenith Avenue.

Around 6:45 p.m., all residents in the area were allowed to return to their homes after CenterPoint Energy crews safely shut off the gas leak. Gas level monitors show levels are back to zero, according to Minneapolis city officials.

Officials have not confirmed the cause of the leak, but they believe it could be weather related.

During the leak, officials warned residents to not enter the evacuation zone and get out if they smelled gas. They were telling people to not use cell phones, start cars, or use iPads.

Minneapolis Public Schools said the incident affected transportation for students who live between 39th and 42nd Streets South and Upton and Zenith Avenues. All students who use MPS transportation who live within the evacuation perimeter were taken to Ramsey Middle School. Parents were directed to pick up their children there. The district also said the incident caused delays to MPS buses citywide.

In a statement posted on the Minneapolis Public Schools website, district officials apologized for a delay in communicating with families whose students' buses were delayed. "We know that families rely on us to keep them informed in a timely fashion and we regret the concern the delay in communication caused. We will work to improve our processes district-wide to make sure we serve families better in the future," the statement said.