The Merrimack Premium Outlets in New Hampshire was shut down Wednesday following a rock slide that damaged a natural gas system and caused a leak.
Just after 7 a.m. local time, the fire department responded to the shopping mall center after getting reports of a gas leak. After their arrival, they discovered that a portion of a rock wall behind one of the buildings had collapsed and “impacted” the gas line.
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The outlet was shut down after the gas was turned off in the morning. The outlet mall was evacuated. No one was injured in the incident. “We are currently working with Liberty Utilities and Eversource to make the area safe and restore utilities,” the fire department said in a Facebook post. “This is a dynamic and ongoing scene.”
According to authorities, rocks continued to slide after firefighters were called to the scene.
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A Liberty Utilities spokesperson said in a statement: “We want to assure everyone that there is currently no threat of natural gas to the public.”
“Due to the large amounts of debris present, Liberty crews are not currently able to access the area to make repairs to the main shopping center. We are, however, working on a temporary repair that will restore service to customers on the access road leading to the shopping mall. Once the area is cleared of debris and mall personnel deem the property safe to enter, Liberty will make all appropriate repairs and restore service to the shopping mall,” they added.
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Merrimack fire Lt. Chris Wyman said, “To ensure that we don’t get into what would be considered an explosive limit, and we are currently ventilating all those spaces as well, so open doors, open windows allowing natural air to flow to keep that ventilation going.”
The shopping center typically gets 500 customers an hour on a weekday.
This is a developing story.