NOVI (WWJ) – Several stores were evacuated in Novi Wednesday after a contractor hit a four-inch gas main.

The stores are located at 12 Mile and Novi Road — in the West Oaks Plaza — across the street from Twelve Oaks Mall.

Construction crews at a future Gordon Food Service store had to be evacuated after the line ruptured Wednesday afternoon in Novi.

Firefighters and a utility crew rushed the scene to shut off the gas.

Consumers Energy spokeswoman Debra Dodd said all possible precautions were addressed so the repair could be handled without issue.

“The gas is venting to the atmosphere — which is exactly what we want to have happen in these situations,” Dodd said, speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 Wednesday afternoon. “But the wind is pretty gusty today and is blowing into some HVAC systems, so there are a few stores that have been evacuated by police and fire — including the Kohl’s store and several other smaller stores.”

Plumber Dave Shupert said it appears a crew working on grading and paving the parking lot at the site of a future Gordon Food Service store ruptured the line.

“We were up on a lift up in the ceiling, and all of a sudden it sounded like a gravel train was dropping off a load of gravel … and so we didn’t think nothing of it,” Shupert said. “Then the foreman comes in and he’s screaming at us to get down off the lift and evacuate the building immediately.”

Shupert said that there were no flames — just the audible rush of escaping gas.

“I’m probably 300 feet away from it, easily, and you can hear this thing like you were at Metro Airport waiting for a jet to take off,” Schupert said.

No injuries were reported.

All stores were reopened by 4:30 p.m.


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