Residents, businesses evacuate downtown Lapeer after gasoline leaks into sewer lines

Loud explosion heard early Wednesday morning

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Derick Hutchinson

LAPEER, Mich. - Residents and business owners are being asked to evacuate downtown Lapeer after gasoline leaked into the sewer lines, officials said.

The affected area stretches from the intersection of Saginaw and Nepessing streets west through the 400 block of West Nepessing Street.

The evacuation area in downtown Lapeer. (WDIV)

Lapeer police Chief David W. Frisch said the cause of the gas leak is still under investigation. There was a loud explosion around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"They're working backwards by the concentration levels on where they think that this may have come from," Frisch said. "At this time, I don't feel comfortable saying an exact source."

He said the city's water is not affected.

"This is strictly the sewer, and the sewer and the water are completely separate," Frisch said.

He said the first reports to police and firefighters came early Wednesday morning, but there might have been signs Tuesday that there was an issue.

The cause of the explosion is being investigated by firefighters.

"Whether it was an ignition source or a pressure-based explosion, I do not know at this time," Frisch said. "That's still part of the ongoing investigation."

Several manhole covers were "disrupted" by the explosion, police said.

Crews are testing every sewer manhole in the affected area for levels of gasoline vapors, police said. That process is expected to be completed by 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Police don't have an estimation on when the evacuation will be lifted.

Frisch said the Lapeer Fire Department is leading the investigation.

Firefighters respond to reports of a gas leak in downtown Lapeer on May 29, 2019. (WDIV)

Residents and businesses were evacauted May 29, 2019, in downtown Lapeer due to a gas leak. (WDIV)

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