Residents in about 4,500 homes are without power this afternoon due to a gas leak at Kingston Road and Victoria Park.
Traffic and TTC buses are being rerouted around the area. The 502 streetcar is also turning back west at Queen Street and Kingston Road.
Crews from Enbridge Gas capped the leak just before 5 p.m., about five hours after a road repair crew was reported to have cut an eight-inch natural gas line while digging just north of the intersection.
Police and firefighters knocked on doors for several blocks around the site in the early afternoon, asking people to evacuate. At about 1:30 p.m., students were sent home early from nearby Neil McNeil High School.
A reception area for evacuees has been set up at Birchmount Community Centre, 93 Birchmount Road.
Speaking in one of four warming buses that the TTC parked at Kingston and Scarborough Roads, Lindsay Mulock said she and her husband could smell the gas inside their home, which is on Victoria Park just south of Kingston.
“When we came out of our building, the manhole cover was being lifted up by the pressure of the gas,” said Mulock. “It was rocking up off the road right at Victoria Park and Kingston Road.”
“It’s a brand-new building that we just moved into, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything’s okay,” she added.
Due to the structure of the power grid, all but a few corner shops are now without power along Kingston Road from east of Main to Kennedy Road.
Robert Maxwell, owner of the The Beech Tree Restaurant & Bar four blocks west, said his cooks are preparing for two full seatings tonight, but he is anxious about a long power outage.
“They can cook by candlelight all afternoon if they have to, but I can’t bring customers in without power,” said Maxwell. “It’s not pretty.”