Nicole Mantei is a manager at Dairy Queen. She was working Saturday evening when an officer told her that she and her staff needed to leave immediately.

“I seen the car and I was a little freaked out. It's not every day you hear that a gas line has been ruptured,” said Mantei.

A car ran into a propane line at a nearby CVS. The potential explosive gas started to leak into the air.

“There was cars backed up down 40 and you could hear the gas coming out from the gas line,” said Mantei.

The threat prompted authorities to shut down Route 40 in both directions for a quarter of a mile near the CVS.  People in nearby homes and businesses were also told to evacuate. Initially, crews had a problem locating the main tanks, which were underground.

“Basically you have a big bomb in the ground,” said Rocky Mount Fire Department First Lieutenant Theodore Hodges.

Two thousand-gallon tanks were below. Fire crews followed guidelines from their emergency response guidebook.  It showed them the appropriate steps to take when dealing many types of chemical leaks.

“We train once a month here, but you could never really train for the actual call you're going to get,” said Hodges.


UPDATE: Route 40 is now open in both directions.


A gas leak near the CVS Pharmacy on Franklin Street in Rocky Mount has Route 40 West closed in both directions Saturday evening.

A vehicle ran into the CVS building -- hitting a tank containing some kind of gas.

People have been evacuated from the area. Electricity has been shut off.

Drivers should plan to use alternative routes.

That is all we know at this time. We will have more information as it becomes available.