A LEAK in a 17,000-litre underground gas tank saw a busy section of the central business district shut down on Thursday night.
Emergency services were called to the United petrol station on the corner of Durham and William streets just before 8pm after receiving reports of a gas leak.
In attendance were personnel from the police, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Ambulance, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and traffic management.
Fire and Rescue NSW alone had five appliances and a hazmat vehicle on site, providing around 20 to 25 firefighters and a duty commander to respond.
They immediately realised it was the storage tank causing the problem.
Leading firefighter Dave Beattie said that the primary concern was the safety of everyone in the area, which led to the evacuation of buildings up to 900m away.
- VIDEO:William Street blocked off by police. Credit: MATTY LEES
This included shops and restaurants around Durham and William streets, as well as Bathurst Ambulance Station.
Everyone was cooperative with the emergency services.
“All the staff from the businesses, when we asked them to evacuate, they left straight away, which was what we needed,” Mr Beattie said, thanking the community for its cooperation.
In order to get the leak under control, the local emergency services worked closely with technicians from United, who were based in Sydney, to identify and isolate the problem valve.
“Fire and Rescue also monitored drains, looking for any LPG gas going into any of them,” Mr Beattie said.
Emergency services were on site for around four hours, with the CBD returning to normal after midnight.
Investigation into the circumstances that caused the leak are ongoing at this stage.
Mr Beattie said it was a very rare incident to have occur in Bathurst.
“We haven’t ever seen a leak in a 17,000-litre underground tank before in Bathurst,” he said.
“It’s quite rare to have that sort of incident and hopefully measures will be put in place to minimise the risk of it happening again.”