High gas readings cause North Ave. store evacuations

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Businesses on North Avenue are returning to normal after a natural gas leak is discovered.

The Grand Junction Fire Department evacuated Big Lots, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Dollar Tree and Rent-A-Center in the Teller Arms Shopping Center around 1 p.m. Tuesday after people in the area smelled strong natural gas. The shopping center is on the south side of North Avenue between N. 23rd Street and 28 Road.

GJFD Public Information Officer Mike Page says officials were getting higher-than-normal gas readings there.

However, he says the levels are not as significant as last week's 7th and Orchard incident, where a natural gas leaked out, caught fire, and leveled a house.

But firefighters are not taking any chances, so the stores were cleared.

According to Page, the leak was from a heating, ventilation and cooling system on the roof, so workers shut off gas to the building until the unit can be fixed. Firefighters are ventilating the stores, and people are allowed back inside.

Page says whenever you smell natural gas, evacuate the building you're in and call 911 to get the cause checked out.

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