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Somerset Shopping Center Evacuated Monday Due to Gas

Gas was found to be flowing in the Fit Zone Gym Monday morning.

Fit Zone Gym at the Somerset Shopping Center was evacuated Monday after gas was found to be present and actively flowing inside, according to North Branch Fire Chief David Hickson.

Hickson said an off duty Franklin police officer alerted Bridgewater Township Police to a strong smell of gas at the shopping center around 11:30 a.m. Monday, and the Green Knoll Fire Company was sent to the scene, with assistance from the North Branch Fire Company.

"The first arriving fire chief was greeted with a very strong odor of gas at the Fit Zone Gym," he said. "Three customers were still in the gym and ordered to evaucate."

An investigation found that the smell of gas was also prevalent in Eastern Mountain Sports and Modell's, also in the shopping center. Hickson said they were evacuated too.

Hickson said firefighters conducted an investigation with gas meters, and found that gas was present and flowing actively into the gym.

"Firefighters located the feed line to the gas meters at the rear of the structure and secured the source of the gas," he said. "PSE&G technicians arrived shortly after the gas was secured."

A ladder truck was requested to the scene by PSE&G, Hickson said, because they were concerned about the possibility of another feed line leaking gas into air handlers on the roof. He said Raritan Fire Department was sent in because Green Knoll Fire Company's truck is out of service after sustaining damage during Superstorm Sandy.

While the investigation continued, Hickson said, firefighters ejected residual gas from the stores with fans.

"Firefighters were on scene for two-and-a-half hours," he said. "Repairs have been made and the stores are reopened."

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