Heritage Mall Evacuated After Dangerous Gas Leak

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Auburn Firefighters evacuated Heritage Mall after discovering a gas leak caused by a broken distribution meter. Photo Credit: Auburn Fire Department

AUBURN, Mass. — The Auburn Fire Department had to evacuate the Heritage Mall early Tuesday morning after a report of a gas leak at 567 Southbridge St.

The mall houses several businesses, including the Heritage Coffee shop. Staff from the coffee shop reported the gas leak when they were opening for business.

When the Fire Department arrived at the commercial building at 5:46 a.m., they found "the presence of natural gas was very strong and could be smelled in the parking lot," said Fire Chief Stephen Coleman.

The Fire Department had to force entry into the Great Expressions Dental Center, in the center of the Heritage Mall, where meter readings showed natural gas at dangerous levels.

Employees from the entire complex who were just arriving to work that morning were evacuated from the building.

"The gas leak was caused from large amounts of snow and ice that had been removed from the roof yesterday and landed onto the distribution meter at the rear of the building and damaged it," said Coleman.

NSTAR officials were on scene and shut the gas off to the building until the meter can be repaired.

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