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SOUTHLAKE (CBSDFW.COM) – Some residents in Southlake are back in their own beds after a gas leak forced nearly two dozen homes to be evacuated on Monday afternoon. It happened at about 3:00 p.m. when construction crews struck a natural gas line in the 2900 block of Sutton Place.

New homes are being built in this area, and workers were digging when they hit the gas line. As a safety precaution, Southlake authorities removed people from 22 nearby homes. Neighbors expected the Monday evacuation to last only a couple of hours, but it turned into a much longer process.

After more than eight hours of work, some residents opted to keep out of the neighborhood for the night, finding hotel rooms or other places to stay. Others waited in their cars until officials let them back into their homes — but nobody knew when that was going to be.

Atmos Energy crews took a while to locate the source of the underground leak. And then, repairs lasted through the night, not wrapping up until about midnight. Even then, while the residents were allowed back into their homes, Atmos Energy workers remained at the scene until early Tuesday morning.

David Conn lives in one of the homes that was evacuated. He said that there was never a firm answer Monday night that it was safe to return. He spent $239 on a hotel room, and now wants to be reimbursed by those who are responsible. “Atmos was out here, police and fire department out here for the safety of the people on the street, which is totally understandable,” Conn said early Tuesday. “But there’s the plumbing company — which I’m not going to say the name — they’re ultimately responsible for this. They weren’t paying attention to the markers which are clearly marked with yellow flags.”

Police from Southlake and North Richland Hills kept surrounding roads blocked until street crews could fix the places where digging took place. All of the roads have since been opened back up to regular traffic, and officials have said that the danger is now over.

Jennifer Lindgren