By Jason Allen

CORINTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A leaking gas line that forced a Denton County neighborhood to evacuate may have been leaking for several weeks. Residents on Shady Rest Lane in Corinth said Monday they had called the fire department and Atmos Energy in the last month after the smell of gas lingered along the street. Nothing was ever found, they said, until the neighborhood was evacuated Friday night.

A torn up driveway and lawn in front of Bob Johnson’s house marks the spot where he said he had been smelling gas for weeks. People walking their dogs would stop and ask him if he knew what it was. “Everyone that would walk by our house would stop and tell us, do you smell, gas or something coming out here?” he said. “Yeah, but we’ve been told it’s just from the release plant down the road.”

Johnson said the fire department and Atmos Energy had been out to his home, but never found any evidence of a leak. It was a contract crew, he said, that finally found something after several hours of searching his yard Friday. By that point, Johnson said the gas had collected in a cavity under his driveway. The pressure had built to the point, he said, that it cracked his driveway and his lawn.

The instruction came immediately to get out. “And do not take your cars, do not turn off any lights, just leave,” Johnson said. “Walk out your front door, go to the end of the street, go to a neighbor’s house or something and get out of the area.”

The Lake Cities Fire Department said it had been to the neighborhood at least once for a report of a gas leak before the major evacuation Friday.

An Atmos Energy spokesman said the leak in the 6-inch line was routine, and that Johnson’s driveway was being repaired. Small leaks aren’t always immediately fixed the company said, but it couldn’t say right away if it had been to the neighborhood for other leak reports.

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