(Update: Safeway workers, customers return; roof HVAC unit apparent source of odor)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A report of an odor from a possible natural gas leak prompted evacuation of a Safeway grocery store and adjacent businesses on Northeast Third Street for a time Tuesday afternoon, officials said. No gas leak was found, but an HVAC unit issue instead, and workers and customers were allowed to return within about an hour.
The report of a possible gas leak came shortly after 2 p.m. at the Safeway Food & Drug in the 600 block of Third Street.
Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki said the natural gas smell at the Bend Town Center was detected inside and outside of several businesses, prompting the evacuation of about 100 occupants.
Police were assisting firefighters in evacuation of the Safeway and other businesses on the block. Police asked the public to avoid the area of Third Street between Franklin and Hawthorne avenues until the incident is concluded.
An Ace Hardware store, a UPS Store and a dental office were among the businesses cleared and visited as firefighters tried to find the source of the odor.
Safeway workers and customers were allowed to return to the store around 3 p.m., according to NewsChannel 21’s Kelsey McGee, who was on scene gathering information.
Derlacki told NewsChannel 21 no gas was detected by monitors and the odor was traced to a malfunctioning heating-AC unit on the roof above the UPS Store. He said the property manager and HVAC company were working on repairs.
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