Lansing City Hall & Police Station Evacuated

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Nearly 1,000 city employees had to be evacuated Thursday morning. A construction crew resurfacing Michigan Avenue hit a natural gas line around 9:15 a.m.

"Well, we really didn't know what we were supposed to be doing. We went outside with the alarms and waited until they cleared the area," explained Mike Hendrick Thursday afternoon. He and about 800 others were back inside city hall and the neighboring police station by noon Thursday.

Those working nearby, like Bomani Kyasa in the Anderson Building didn't have to leave. Instead they were asked to stay put until given the all clear. "It was sort a business as usual. If it had been something significant, I would think they would be proactive about protecting Legislators," explained Kyasa.

Consumers Energy had the leak fixed by 1:30 p.m. The natural gas line that was hit services the building between the police station and the Comerica Bank building.

This is not the first time construction crews have caused gas leaks in downtown Lansing. We counted at least three more in the last three years. In July of 2004, more than two thousand people were evacuated. The other two breaks were in August and September of 2006.

The Lansing Fire Department's spokesperson points to old pipes as the problem and says sometimes crews do dig in the wrong spot. "If we could, we'd paint the whole roads orange so people would have to hand dig. But, the possibility of that happening is slim," says Lansing Firefighter Ignacio Centeno.

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