BEND, OR -- The Bend Fred Meyer and neighboring businesses were forced to evacuate Tuesday afternoon, following the discovery of a natural gas leak. The retail complex south of Reed Market Road closed just before 3:30 p.m., sending customers pouring onto nearby parking lots and streets.
Bend Fire Batallion Chief Dave Howe describes the scene shortly after the evacuation: "The gas leak has been isolated, the building is being ventilated, and the customers and everybody who works there is outside the building a safe distance away. The complex is shut down." The area was allowed to reopen about an hour later.
According to the Fire Department, the leak occurred after a forklift operator inadvertently struck an overhead gas line feeding a ceiling-mounted heater. He immediately reported the mishap and managers called 911.
Photo (right): customers eveacuated from the Bend Fred Meyer;
courtesy Bend Fire Dept.