UPDATED: Gas leak forces Skippack homes to be evacuated

Emergency responders block off a road after a report of a gas leak in Skippack on Sunday evening. Photo by Ann Cornell

More than 10 homes were evacuated on North Gorski Lane in Skippack on Sunday evening as a result of a reported gas leak.

County emergency personnel reported that Skippack Elementary School was being set up as a shelter to accommodate those families displaced by the leak.

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, the source of the odor was still under investigation. Township officials and the Red Cross were assisting any displaced residents who arrived at the temporary shelter at Skippack Elementary School on Heckler Road, according to Fire Chief Haydn Marriott.

A post on the Skippack Fire Company’s Facebook page advises residents that before returning home “contact Skippack Township at 610-454-0909 between the hours 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and schedule to have their home tested for the presence of (a volatile organic compound).”

Around 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Skippack Fire Company responded to a call for an odor of gas fumes in an end unit in the 4200 block of North Gorski Lane in Skippack, Marriott said.

Officials at the scene said about 100 people were evacuated as a result of the leak.

Firefighters found high readings of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) in that home, as well as numerous other residences in the attached-home development. However, Marriott said the HCN is most likely masking another chemical, which is the true source of the smell.

The levels of HCN found in the North Gorski Lane homes are not deadly, “but are high enough to cause concern,” Marriott said.

Utility companies serving the neighborhood have responded to scene; although it doesn’t appear to be caused by any utilities, according to Marriott. It seemed to be coming in through sump pumps, Marriott said.

No one has suffered illness or shown symptoms of being sickened by the gas.

The Montgomery County Hazmat team was also investigating the scene.