Natural gas leak forces evacuations in Portland's Bayside neighborhood

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PORTLAND — An aging pipe was blamed for a natural gas leak in Bayside on Monday morning that caused the evacuation of four buildings.

The leak was called in by a passerby who detected a strong smell of natural gas near the intersection of Kennebec Street, Forest Avenue and Marginal Way, Deputy Fire Chief David Jackson said.

Workers from gas company Unitil located the source at an underground pipe near 195 Kennebec St. They said they believed the pipe is not connected to a customer and terminates near that location.

Police and firefighters closed several blocks of Kennebec Street while crews worked to fix the leak. Four buildings, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the former Century Tire were evacuated.

Jackson said winds helped disperse the gas.

Ben McCanna can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow him on Twitter:@BenMcCanna.

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Portland Deputy Fire Chief David Jackson and Capt. Mike Kucsma discuss a gas leak at the intersection of Kennebec Street, Marginal Way and Forest Avenue on Monday morning. Four buildings were evacuated while crews worked to fix the underground leak, which Jackson described as “significant.” An aging pipe was to blame, Jackson added.

Utility workers walk along Kennebec Street on Monday morning after an underground gas leak forced the evacuation of four buildings near the intersection of Forest Avenue and Marginal Way.