Firefighters and gas crews were busy cleaning up after a gas main fire in Rockland County Thursday afternoon.
According to a spokesman at Orange & Rockland Utilities, a welder was working on a gas main replacement project in near North Broadway and First Avenue in Nyack when the fire erupted.
"One of the safety measures let go, either got shaken loose or fell out on its own," said Mike Donovan. "Gas proceeded down the pipe, sparks hit the gas and the gas ignited."
Several buildings were evacuated as a precaution.
"The firemen came to our door and said, 'Out of the house, out of the house, gas main has exploded,'" said neighbor Peter Danish. "There were flames 50 feet high, higher than this building. The heat could be felt for 100 yards."
No one was hurt, though some workers were taken out on stretchers after being overcome by the heat.
Orange & Rockland Utilities shut off electricity to 2,500 customers in the immediate area as crews worked to contain any potential problems; it has since restored power to all customers.
Several hundred customers were without gas Thursday night. Orange & Rockland Utilities expects gas to be restored within several days.
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