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Harrington Park, N.J. Residents Evacuated Due To Gas Leak

HARRINGTON PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Residents were evacuated from their homes in Harrington Park, New Jersey Thursday evening due to a gas leak.

As CBS2s' Ali Bauman reported, hundreds of residents were ordered out of their homes by the gas leak on Schraalenburgh Road.

Some of the residents in the quiet neighborhood were already asleep when firefighters rang the doorbell and told them to get out.

Crews late Thursday were working to contain the gas leak until pipes are fully repaired but they were in for a long night.

Firefighters earlier went door to door to warn Harrington Park residents in a 300-yard radius to evacuate for their own safety.

"He just said that there's a gas leak -- that's all -- and we've got to go to the school," one man said.

"I don't smell anything, but you know, I'm going to take it for what they say," said Jean Hill of Harrington Park.

Police said around 7:30 p.m., PSE&G workers making routine repairs hit a main gas line on Schraalenburgh Road.

"PSEG was working on the site. They were doing some repairs, and apparently, they struck a pipe," said Harrington Park police Chief Albert Maalouf.

This was the second time such a thing has happened in town in the last two years.

"Based off age of pipe, sometimes what normally might not be a problem is a problem -- because some of the pipes in the ground are in excess of 80 years old," said Harrington Park Mayor Paul Hoelscher.

With several streets closed off, evacuees were to be housed at Harrington Park Elementary School until their neighborhood was deemed safe to return. Hill said she did not know when that would be, so she packed to stay the night.

"Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, clothes for work, something to eat, beverages," she said.

"This is probably going to be, you know, an all-night into tomorrow morning project," said Mayor Hoelscher.

Police said there were no reported injuries. And even after residents are allowed to return, the road will be shut down to traffic into Friday.

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