Construction workers who were operating a milling machine struck a gas line while milling the roadway on Ewing Street near Cuyler Road this morning. The milling machine caught on fire and homes in the area were evacuated as a precautionary measure, police said.
Residents in the area reported hearing a loud boom. Some felt their houses shake. Approximately eight homes on Ewing Street in the immediate vicinity of the fire were evacuated, Sgt. Mike Cifelli said.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the milling machine struck a pressurized gas line, rupturing the line and starting the fire. The fire quickly engulfed the machine and spread to a nearby tree. The tree fire was put out, but emergency workers were unable to extinguish the gas fire.
Ewing Street between North Harrison Street and Terhune Road, and Cuyler Road between Ewing Street and Walnut Lane were closed to traffic. As of 1:30 p.m., Terhune Road was still closed between Harrison Street and Walnut Lane to accommodate emergency equipment.
PSE&G and emergency services personnel are still on location and are working on a plan to move the machinery and stop the gas fire, police said.
The Princeton Engineering Department reported the incident to police around 8:30 a.m. The following emergency services units responded: Princeton Fire, West Windsor Emergency Services, Monroe Township Emergency Services, Mercer Airport Emergency Services, Plainsboro Fire, Rusling Hose (Hamilton) Fire, Trenton Engine #1, and the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad.
Editor’s note: The fire was put out and the gas was turned off just before 2 p.m.