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Gas leak closes Thruway, neighbors evacuated

The Thruway between exits 23 and 24 was closed for several hours and nearby residents and patrons of businesses fled on foot after a natural gas line was ruptured Wednesday, Aug. 10, in the Guilderland area.

The Thruway between exits 23 and 24 was closed for several hours and nearby residents and patrons of businesses fled on foot after a natural gas line was ruptured Wednesday, Aug. 10, in the Guilderland area. Photo by Charles Wiff.

— The Thruway between exits 23 and 24 was closed for several hours and nearby residents and patrons of businesses fled on foot after a natural gas line was ruptured this morning in the Guilderland area.

A gas transmission line was ruptured by construction crews just before 11 a.m., according to Sean Maguire of the Westmere Fire Department. Within a few hours the line had been repaired and the Thruway was reopened.

In the meantime, Guilderland police and firefighters from the Westmere Fire District shut down a portion of Schoolhouse Road just off of Route 20, and at least several dozen people from surrounding homes, apartments and a nearby medical practice were evacuated.

Several used surgical masks as the smell of gas wafted through the area. Maguire said the department did not issue any masks, as there was little if any hazard in that respect.

“The smell that comes with natural gas is actually something that's added in that lets you smell it if there was a leak,” he said. “The immediate threat had to do with the volatility of natural gas.”

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