The guests of a Holiday Inn in Phoenix were evacuated after employees smelled natural gas Monday morning. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Crews dig in an area where they suspect a natural gas leak occurred Monday morning. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A suspected gas leak forced the evacuation of 140 guests staying in a hotel near Interstate 17 and Cactus Road on Monday morning.
A Phoenix Fire Department spokesman said employees of the Holiday Inn smelled a strong odor of natural gas throughout the four-story hotel and called firefighters about 5:30 a.m.
A gas station nearby was also evacuated for safety reason, fire officials said.
"This was really an extremely dangerous deal. If nobody would have maybe noticed that or called, then we would have had the potential of leveling a few buildings and maybe a couple hundred people, so we're very pleased with the outcome," said Phoenix Fire Capt. Jonathan Jacobs.
"We got woken up to a pounding on the door at 5 a.m. and all we saw was guys in gas masks," said Jesse Milliken. "We didn't have our phone or even shoes on."
Firefighters and emergency crews were looking for the source of the leak and were digging in front of nearby businesses with a backhoe, said Phoenix Fire Capt. Jonathan Jacobs.
Guests were allowed to go back in a few hours later to get their belongings, but crews had to shut down the gas line about a block long to fix the leak, keeping everyone out for the day.
"We were freezing out here at 5, but luckily the fire department was good to provide blankets for everybody," said Felipe Mery.
One person was taken to a hospital for medical reasons and one firefighter experienced difficulty breathing, but no other injuries were reported, Jacobs said.
The line was fixed by Monday evening and crews expected the hotel to be open for business by Monday night.
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