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Gas leak forces evacuation in Tonawanda

A plumbing contractor digging with a backhoe struck an underground natural gas supply line Wednesday morning in the City of Tonawanda, causing a leak and evacuation of nearby homes, authorities said.

The city fire department was called to 580 Broad St. at 11:08 a.m. and found a medium-pressure gas line leaking at a high rate, spewing natural gas vapors into the air, said Fire Chief Charles Stuart.

Firefighters evacuated about 20 residents, and also advised city school officials to move students at nearby Tonawanda High School away from classrooms facing the leak, he said.

National Fuel crews were able to control the leak in about 20 minutes, Stuart said. After the homes were checked for gas that may have built up inside, residents were allowed to return. No injuries were reported.