The intersection of North Main Street and Holly Springs Road was closed after a gasoline leak Wednesday afternoon, according to the town. A fiber-optic crew accidentally may have caused or worsened the gas leak, according to the town.
The crew was boring underneath pavement at the intersection when it apparently hit or came near underground equipment connected to an Exxon gas station, according to town spokesman Mark Andrews. Police are redirecting traffic at the intersection.
The crew was boring in the public right-of-way, where there should not be a gas tank, Andrews said. It’s possible that the tank was in the way anyway, or that the tank already was leaking and the bore disturbed the soil enough to cause a more significant leak.
The release seemed to have stopped by about 5 p.m. Gasoline was visible at the bottom of the hole drilled by the fiber-optic crew, and the smell of fuel was in the air, Andrews said.
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“There’s still some gasoline in the bottom of the (underground) tank, but the leak doesn't seem to be continuing right now, so we're in a holding pattern,” Andrews said. The town was waiting on an environmental inspection team, he said.
The town did not have an estimate of the amount of gasoline spilled, but Andrews said that about 1,300 gallons of gasoline remained in the tank. The town didn’t know the maximum capacity of the tank as of 5 p.m., but Andrews said one estimate was 10,000 gallons; it is not clear how much gasoline was in the tank.
Three businesses in two building were evacuated, including a laundromat, the gas station and a Walgreens store, Andrews said. The fiber-optic crew was laying line for the town’s municipal broadband project.