Lufkin businesses have gas-leak scare

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - A smell caused a scene and drove employees and customers outside Lufkin stores.

"We were here about an hour and one of the Conn's guys came in and said they had a gas leak and just to get everyone out of the store," said Felicia Jones of Harbor Freight Tools. "We had a few shoppers in, they did smell gas, the gas smell was pretty strong, so we just went outside."

"I got natural gas at the house, so I know what it smells like," customer Andy Brunner said.

Fire fighters and Centerpoint Energy began searching for the leak.

"It was a strong smell, but they said that's all it was, a smell," Jones said. "It wasn't actually gas fumes that would hurt anybody."

Gas detectors did not identify any significant amounts of gas in the area that were concerning, but Conn's and Harbor Freight Tools are still keeping their doors open to air out the smell.

The leak started Thursday in a trailer.

It was carrying an odor additive in the natural gas, but the smell grew overwhelming Friday morning.

"They do add a specific odor to those gases so they can easily identify a leak," Lufkin Assistant Fire Marshal Steve McCool said.

Even though no gas leak was found, it's better safe than sorry.

"Whether you're in a business or a residence, if you smell gas, you should exit the building immediately," McCool said. "Don't turn on any lights, don't turn off any lights, just go straight out and from outside the hazard area, you want to call 911 and your gas company and we'll respond accordingly."

Just a foul smell, but one strong enough to evacuate.

"Well sure, definitely," Brunner said. "It'll explode pretty quickly, so I got out."

McCool says they get a lot of gas leak calls from residents in the winter months.

"Sometimes they'll mistake a heater kicking on for the smell of gas, but again you don't want to take that risk," McCool said. "If you're not sure, make that call."

The stores made the call. Now the leak is repaired and soon the smell will dissipate.

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