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Gas leak prompts brief street closure downtown

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Roswell FIre Department and New Mexico Gas Co. crews work Tuesday to fix a gas leak near the Sunwest Centre office building. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

A gas leak near a downtown building has been fixed, allowing people back into buildings and reopening the block on West Fifth Street that had been closed for a few hours.

The New Mexico Gas Co. responded to a call about the leak outside Sunwest Centre at 500 N. Pennsylvania Ave. at 11:35 a.m., according to company spokesman Tim Korte. He said crews were able to seal off the leak in a 4-inch distribution line by about 12:30 p.m.

Korte said the office building and the restaurant housed there, Peppers Grill and Bar, were evacuated temporarily as a precaution.

City of Roswell spokesman Todd Wildermuth added that two nearby city facilities, City Hall on North Richardson Avenue and the Roswell Visitors Center on North Main Street, also were evacuated for a time.

The city also closed West Fifth Street between North Richardson Avenue and North Main Street to allow emergency crews and vehicles in the area and to avoid any potential problems to bystanders. The road reopened a little after 2 p.m.

As of press time, the gas company did not know what caused the problem with the gas line, Korte said.