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Gas leak in Crosslake forces residents to evacuate homes

A construction worker on County Highway 66 and Daggett Pine Road damaged a 6-inch main gas line around 1:20 p.m. Wednesday.

City of Crosslake truck parked near barricade
A city of Crosslake truck is parked next to a barricade near the site of a cut gas line during road construction Wednesday, July 20, 2022, on County Highway 66 in Crosslake.
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CROSSLAKE — A damaged gas line forced the evacuation of numerous residences and businesses Wednesday, July 20, in Crosslake.

Crosslake Fire Chief Chip Lohmiller said a construction worker on County Highway 66 and Daggett Pine Road damaged a 6-inch main gas line at about 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, forcing the department to evacuate people southeast of the leak.

“So with a 6-inch main, that's obviously a lot of gas getting put into the air and it's in a residential/commercial area,” Lohmiller said. “We called for mutual aid with Ideal (Fire Department). We had an engine here, where the line was cut. We were all upwind, and then we had to evacuate the roads to the east of that area.”

Calling in mutual aid and with the help of multiple police departments, responders evacuated everyone to the Crosslake Community Center. Crosslake Assistant Fire Chief Neil Luzar said they evacuated about 30 people from a church, though the total number who took refuge at the center was not known Wednesday evening.

Lohmiller said Xcel Energy crews crimped the line to stop the leak.

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Crews waited about 10 to 15 minutes for the gas to dissipate with the wind and at about 2:45 p.m. the Crow Wing County Alert system sent out an all-clear to let residents know it was safe to return.

The Crosslake Fire Department cleared the scene about 3:30 p.m.

Lohmiller said 150 to 200 buildings were without gas following the incident, though Xcel was sending additional crews to repair the line.

Assisting at the scene were the Ideal Fire Department, Crosslake Police Department, Breezy Point Police Department, Pequot Police Department, the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office and North Memorial Health Ambulance.

John Bowen, Crow Wing County emergency management director, said the Crow Wing County alerts work on any mobile device and people choose how they receive the alerts and how many devices they want the alerts to be sent to.

All residents have to do is sign up in order to receive the alerts. Register online at bit.ly/3BmtQs3 or call 218-825-3443 or fill out a form and mail it to Crow Wing County, 304 Laurel St., Brainerd, MN 56401.

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The incident was reported as an “adult male vacuuming nude” to the Baxter Police Department at 10:23 p.m. the same day.

TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email tim.speier@brainerddispatch.com .

Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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