Evacuees Return Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Evacuees Return Home

Several hundred Hattiesburg residents returned home Thursday after the release of a flammable material forced evacuations. The evacuation, ordered Wednesday afternoon, involved Hattiesburg's West Seventh Street and North 25th Avenue areas. Authorities said about 30 gallons of the flammable liquid was accidentally washed into the city sewer system. The accident raised fears that gas vapors could escape into homes.

Police Lt. Hardy Sims said electricity and natural gas were turned off in the area and tests were conducted to determine gas vapor levels. After the problem was discovered, city crews began flushing the sewer lines, diluting the waste and forcing it toward the north sewer lagoon on Lakeview Road. After the initial evacuation, authorities ordered the evacuation of an addition 100 homes on five streets along the path of the sewer line. The total number of residents evacuated was not known, but two schools and two apartment complexes which contain about 300 apartments were cleared. The waste product was washed from a tank at Mississippi Tank Co. sometime Wednesday morning, Sims said. Danny Miller, Mississippi Tank's president, said lines were being examined to find out how the gas reached the sewer system.

The leak could have occurred Wednesday morning when employees were burning off excess gas from a tank in a process called flaring, Miller said.

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