“It smelled awful:” 6,000 lose power after gas main leak on Milwaukee’s west side

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MILWAUKEE/WAUWATOSA -- We Energies officials say roughly 6,000 customers were without service after a gas main was struck at the intersection of Hawley Road and Wisconsin Avenue, along the Milwaukee and Wauwatosa border on Friday, October 16th.

"It was kind of nuts. I didn't quite know what it was at first. It sounded kind of like a waterfall," said Brandon Manderle, evacuated from airport.

The loud noise and strong odor filled the area.

"It smelled awful. It was pretty amazing how strong it was," said Manderle.

Gas main struck scene

Gas main struck scene

Around 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, a contractor doing work for We Energies struck a gas line and caused the leak. The incident happened while crews were replacing mains in the area.

"We actually had replaced a good portion of the gas main running down Wells Street, and part of Wisconsin as well and this unfortunately happened," said Cathy Schulze, We Energies.

Cathy Schulze, We Energies

Cathy Schulze, We Energies

The gas leak forced people to evacuate and power was shut off to more than 6,000 homes.

"A police officer came through the apartment, knocking on some of the doors, telling people we had to get out because there was a gas leak nearby," said Manderle.

Roads were blocked and vehicles had to be rerouted.

"There was traffic everywhere. There were cars all over the road here," said Manderle.

Crews were able to shut off the leak after about an hour, but repairs to the gas main continued.

"Nobody was in any danger at any time, throughout this incident as it played out," said Deputy Chief Aaron Lipski, Milwaukee Fire Department.

Crews are finishing up repairs Friday evening, but everyone was allowed back inside their homes and power has been restored to the area.

Gas leak

Gas leak

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