DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Three gas leaks Tuesday led to evacuations of residents of homes and apartments, as well as, an early dismissal at an elementary school.

Around 9 a.m., the Durham Fire Department was sent to a possible gas leak in the 600 block of North Roxboro Street. The first engine arrived to find a construction site where a crew that was digging with a machine had hit and punctured a natural gas line, the city said.

A fire engine at a gas leak on N. Roxboro St. in Durham on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (Ben Bokun/CBS 17)

Additional crews were called and they began evacuating residents from homes in a two-block radius of the leak. An unknown number of residents were evacuated in this incident.

Myles Holt, who lives right across the street from the leak on North Roxboro, also evacuated his home.

“We woke up this morning and there was a fireman pounding on the door,” he said. “And they said we got to get going, and we did. But I’ll tell you, they resolved it faster than expected.”

Dominion Energy crews were called to shut the gas off. Homes were checked to ensure no natural gas had entered and residents were allowed to return to their homes. North Roxboro Street from Elliott Street to Dowd Street was closed for several hours while repairs were made, according to the city.

Around 10:45 a.m., the department was dispatched to a possible gas leak inside the building at Club Boulevard Elementary School. The first-arriving crew found an odor of gas inside the building and an active evacuation commenced.

Emergency personnel at Club Boulevard Elementary responding to a possible gas leak on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (Durham Police Dept.)

Additional units were called to assist and the department responded with 19 personnel. A total of 430 students, faculty, and staff were evacuated to a safe space outside the school. The school was dismissed at 1:15 p.m., according to Durham police.

West Club Boulevard was closed between Washington and Acadia streets, Durham police said.

Dominion Energy was contacted and took over the scene to find and fix any natural gas leaks. Repairs are ongoing, the city said.

Around 11:35 a.m., the department was dispatched to a possible gas leak at the intersection of Hillsborough Road and Rutherford Street. The first arriving crews found an active gas leak caused by construction crews who had cut a natural gas line while digging in the area and requested more units to respond.

Gas leak on Hillsborough Road on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (Durham Police Dept.)

Hillsborough Road between Ninth and 15th streets has since reopened, police said.

This line was near the Station Nine apartment building next to the construction site. Approximately 40 to 50 residents were evacuated from their apartments. Dominion Energy arrived and stopped the flow of gas.

“Normally, it’s a fake alarm,” Robert Xiong, who lives at the Station Nine apartments, said. “We thought someone was cooking like a steak and probably triggered it.”



Firefighters made sure no natural gas had entered the building and once deemed clear, residents were allowed to enter their apartments.

“It’s not very common, but it does happen,” DFD Division Chief David Swain said about the frequency of this many gas leaks in a short amount of time. “A lot of times when one gets cut, there might be multiple crews working on the same road in different areas and they’re doing the same thing.”

During all of these events, there were no injuries noted. In addition to Dominion Energy and police, Durham County EMS, and Durham County Office of Emergency Management assisted.