A gas leak in Albany blocked traffic and sent employees home early. Businesses were closed for hours as Niagara Mohawk responded to a natural gas leak on South Pearl Street.
Construction workers caused the commotion when a backhoe struck the gas main at around 11 a.m. It forced the evacuation of three buildings as a precaution and meant an early end to the day for several downtown workers.
Mike Bulgaro, from Giffen Elementary School, said, "They made an announcement to actually evacuate the building, and we're going to have to air it all out and stuff."
Jim Dippo, from the Department of Mental Health, said, "I'm just closing up the building, and as soon as the building is locked my boss says I can go home. So I'm going home."
For some, the gas leak may have been a great excuse to go home early, but it kept Niagara Mohawk crews busy for several hours.
Firefighters evacuated the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Giffen School, the South End Fire Station, and checked numerous other buildings on South Pearl Street for high gas levels.
Chief Michael Dunn, from the Albany Fire Department, said, "It's dangerous if it builds up inside a building, and of course you have electric in the building that could set it off."
The New York State Public Service Commission issued the August Bohl Contracting Company a citation for operating power machinery within four inches of a gas line. The PSC is continuing its investigation into what went wrong.