Phoenix hotel evacuated due to natural gas leak - Dallas News |

Phoenix hotel evacuated due to natural gas leak

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A four-story hotel in northwest Phoenix was evacuated Monday morning due to a strong smell of natural gas.

Phoenix Fire Captain Jonathan Jacobs says 140 people were evacuated from the Holiday Inn on Cactus Road near Interstate 17 just before 5 a.m.

The evacuees were placed on city buses for shelter and were taken to another hotel down the street until firefighters were sure it was safe. 

According to Jacobs, one firefighter was treated for breathing difficulties and an evacuee was transported to an area hospital since he didn't have access to his medication.

Hotel guests couldn't move their vehicles because starting them could ignite the natural gas.  Unfortunately, some people needed to catch flights and one family was going to attend a funeral.

Firefighters stayed some distance back from the hotel because of the danger of explosion.

"We found heavy 100 percent saturation in multiple areas of the Holiday Inn Express, a bistro and 7-11," said Capt. Jacobs.

"It was hectic morning..woken up at 5:30 by firemen beating on the door, telling us to evacuate immediately," said Michelle Koch.  "I just grabbed myself, left my purse..I'm just like, I'm outta here, 'cause as soon as you open the door you could smell the gas smell."

Felipe Mery did the same thing.

"I'm here on business. I work for a bedding company in Glendale. That's where I should be right now but that's not going to happen," he said.

Southwest Gas utility crews were able to find the source of the leak after digging and have since secured it.

The hotel is allowing guests to return to their rooms to pick up belongings, but it will be closed the rest of the day.

Roads in the area were closed, along with the southbound I-17 off-ramp during the evacuation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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