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Gas Leak Forces Evacuation of East Village Building

By Patrick Hedlund | June 6, 2011 6:04pm | Updated on June 7, 2011 7:33am

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

EAST VILLAGE — A gas leak forced the evacuation of a residential building on East 11th Street Monday afternoon, authorities said.

A contractor working at the building, at 533 E. 11th St. between Avenues B and C, accidentally cut into the gas line while performing electrical work at the site, causing it to leak natural gas into the basement, a Con Edison spokesman said.

The Fire Department then responded to the scene, evacuating 11 people from the seven-story building about 1:25 p.m., the FDNY said. 

Con Ed workers secured the leak at 2:30 p.m., and residents were allowed to return to the building a short time later, the spokesman added.

One Con Ed employee helping repair the leak almost fainted after inhaling the potentially deadly fumes. Michael Dwyer, 60, said he became lightheaded and started seeing white while trying to fix the damaged gas line.

"I ate a little too much gas," said Dwyer, who had to take oxygen after the incident but remained on the scene. "It's part of the job. I'm still here."

Crews were forced to dig into the street across from the building to access the line, working at the scene throughout the afternoon.

No one was injured in the incident, authorities added.