Gas line rupture forces Main Street closure, evacuation downtown

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | A flagman stops traffic on Peconic Avenue Tuesday morning.

Update: Riverhead Town Police said Main Street has since reopened. A state Department of Transportation spokesperson also said the rupture was caused by a National Grid subcontractor and not a DOT worker.

A portion of Main Street in downtown Riverhead was evacuated Tuesday morning due to a gas line breakage caused by National Grid subcontractors.

As of 11 a.m, the road was closed between Griffing Avenue in the west and East Avenue to the east. Peconic Avenue was also closed. The smell of gas was also very strong. Nobody was injured in the accident.

Firefighters and police responded to the scene and expected that it would take a minimum of one hour to fix the line, which ruptured at about 10:45 a.m. In the meantime area business owners, who were just getting their work day under way when the line broke, were gathering in the parking lots behind the stores.

“I started smelling gas when I walked out of my store,” said Robert James Salon owner Ray Pickersgill. “Then the police ran over and told me to evacuate.”

The accident happened near Dark Horse Restaurant, at the corner of East Main Street and Peconic Avenue, authorities said.

Looking to comment on this article? Send us a letter to the editor instead.