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A gas meter hangs from the rear of a semi truck after the semi backed into it and ripped it from the ground.

Semi causes gas leak in downtown

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A semi truck maneuvering under the Highway 61 bridge ripped a gas meter off the north side of the Motor Parts Services building, causing a gas leak downtown Friday afternoon.

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Once the meter was torn off the pipe, there was no valve stopping it from flowing into the open air. The smell of natural gas was palpable in the area, from Second and Eddy streets, to Second Street near RJ's Tavern.

Fire crews arrived on the scene shortly after noon and plugged the pipe to stop the leak. They shut down Second Street from the east bridge approach to Eddy Street until it was safe to allow traffic through again.

At the same time, firefighters went into neighboring buildings, the Mississippi Belle, H.D. Hudson Manufacturing and Motor Parts Services, to see if any gas had gotten inside. They found no gas inside, and no one had to be evacuated from any of the buildings.

Crews from CenterPoint Energy arrived on the scene to replace the meter. Second Street was re-opened and most of the fire crews were cleared from the scene around 12:45 p.m.

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