JEFFERSON — On Monday, Nov. 15 around 2:54 p.m., a nearly five-hour gas leak occurred along US Highway 221 bypass when a road construction crew hit a Frontier Gas natural gas line.
The leak caused road closures to and from Ashe Memorial Hospital and surrounding areas. Drivers were encouraged to reroute to Old Highway 16 and Wade Bare Road.
West Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department Chief Eric Miller was the initial Incident Commander, which then turned over to Cody Blevins with Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department when he arrived on scene around 3:41 p.m.
Around 4:10 p.m., Ashe County Dispatch confirmed that the leak was natural gas.
Responding agencies included Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department, West Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department, Jefferson Police Department, New River Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Lansing Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Ashe County Emergency Management, West Jefferson Police Department and Ashe County Sheriff’s Office.
As the leak continued, businesses and homes were directed to evacuate. Evacuated businesses included all within the Mountain Village Shopping Center including Food Lion, Salvation Army, Roses, Hardees, the Tobacco Outlet and Glenn’s Auto Repair. Pizza Hut, Bojangles, Dollar General and a handful of homes along Cherry Drive were also evacuated.
Residents, business owners and employees were allowed to return to their respective homes and places of work at 6:21 p.m. when the leak was stopped. However, US Highway 221 bypass remained closed until the leak was fully repaired around 8:45 p.m. on Monday.
Patty Gambill with Emergency Management said, “Frontier Gas staff worked through the night restoring service to affected customers and are continuing to work on restoring service this morning.”