Gas leak in downtown Ottawa forces evacuations

A major gas leak in downtown Ottawa forced the evacuation of four city blocks on Tuesday afternoon.

The leak began shortly after 1 p.m. and there were reports of a large “bang” followed by the distinct smell of gas in the air on Sparks Street. The leak occurred in the heart of the downtown core, right across from Parliament Hill and only a block or two away from the prime minister’s Langevin offices.

There is a large condo construction site nearby but as of 2 p.m. it was unclear if work on the site is what caused the leak. Construction on the city’s new light-rail transit line is also ongoing in the area.

Ottawa emergency services were on scene as of 1:30 p.m. attempting to get the leak under control. Police initially taped off a two-block radius surrounding the site of the apparent accident before expanding the perimeter to four blocks.

Metcalfe Street was closed to all traffic from Albert Street to Queen Street, and O’Connor Street was closed from Wellington Street to Albert Street. Buses had to be redirected ahead of the rush hour.

People were being advised to avoid the area. There have been no reports of any injuries.

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