The smell of gas permeated the downtown Wednesday afternoon after a construction crew struck a three-inch natural gas main.
Dominion Street was shut down between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and roughly two blocks worth of businesses were evacuated on Fourth and Fifth Avenues on either side of Dominion Street shortly before 2 p.m.
Prince George Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Kevin Scobie said two engine crews and a rescue crew attended to the area and that it took 10 to 15 minutes to get everyone evacuated.
Fortis spokesperson Tracy Tang said the natural gas provider was notified at about 1:45 p.m.
A section supplying the fuel to 10 customers was shut down to carry out repairs, she said.
Renate Blackburn was working at La Tienda Hair Design when she started to smell gas. As it got worse, she checked with a neighbour to see if they could smell it as well.
"Now the whole area reeks like propane," she said, adding she had started to feel nauseous.
The salon was evacuated, but staff didn't have a definite time when they would be allowed back in.
"We had colours and haircuts going on," she said, with more customers still to come that staff were trying to get a hold of to notify. "You want to have the safety of your clients as well as yourself."
Although the smell was a nuisance, the danger lay in an accumulation of gas in the surrounding buildings.
"We've gotten everybody out, we just don't want to have the gas get to its explosive limits in the buildings," Scobie said. "That would be a major concern in the buildings because anything can spark it after that."
Fire crews did not find any gas accumulation in any of the buildings they monitored.
Fortis crews were able to control the leak by 2:30 p.m. without any injuries.
--with files from Mark Nielsen