Firefighters cap gas leak on West Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale

Traffic affected for hours during incident

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Firefighters have capped a gas leak on West Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, authorities said.

The gas leak was reported Wednesday afternoon in the area of 3100 W. Broward Blvd.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue officials said all eastbound and westbound lanes were shut down in the area as crews worked to cap the leak. Westbound lanes were reopened shortly before 5 p.m. but eastbound lanes are expected to remain closed for a few more hours. 

According to authorities, a construction crew was digging to lay down new fiber optic cables parallel to Broward Boulevard, but workers called Fire Rescue around noon when they hit a gas line.

First responders rushed to the area, but the issue was that the crew was doing something called directional boring.

Basically, authorities said the workers were digging underground horizontally and not straight down, making it very hard for crews to actually find the leak. Once they did, they had to pull out a jackhammer to make more space and, eventually, slide a sleeve over the pipe to cap the leak.

"The gas will find the path of least resistance and will permeate out of the ground in various different areas, so we have to start tracking it down to where the actual source of the leak is at," Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan said. 

For safety, authorities evacuated nearly the entire block while they worked to cap the leak, costing business owners in the area a lot of money.

"Usually between 11 till 3, that's our lunchtime period, and the drive-thru will be wrapped around (and) inside will be full," said JP Wilson, of the Dutch Pot Jamaican Restaurant. "I had to send home all of my staff because there's nothing to do. We're losing a lot of money today because of this."

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