BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- A large area of Brookline Avenue in the Longwood Medical area was shut down due to a gas leak Thursday afternoon. The roadway was closed off between the Riverway and the Fenway, and the area was evacuated.
Officials said a private contractor working for Boston Water & Sewer was excavating in the area when they ruptured a six-inch gas main. By around 1 p.m., the gas had been turned off and crews were checking air quality readings in adjacent buildings. Eastbound traffic had been restored, but westbound traffic was closed due to ongoing repairs.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens said the smell of gas was strong about a block away from where the leak occurred. Boston Fire Chief Joe Finn said things were very tense--though, he said, none of the area hospitals were evacuated.
"It's a very tenuous situation when you have a gas main of that size that's free-flowing gas," Finn said. "It tends to follow the path of least resistance. It can enter buildings at very low levels and find the, if you will, ignition source, whether it be a light switch or something."
An electrician who was working nearby said many people were told to get out of the area.
"All the construction workers, probably a thousand guys or so," he said. "BPD, BFD everywhere, so, pretty crowded."
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) reports