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Odor causes gasoline-leak scare in McDonough

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Firefighters in Henry County evacuated an automobile-parts store in McDonough, after a possible gasoline leak caused a scare for employees and customers.

The incident occurred shortly before noon Wednesday, inside the AutoZone at 1645 Ga. Highway 42 North, according to Henry County Fire Lt. Mike Matheson. He said individuals in the building became concerned, after oil was dumped at the store.

"Evidently, somebody thought they had some gasoline mixed in it," Matheson said. "That gave a strong smell of gas, and that's why they pulled the alarm."

Store Manager Patricia Abner said a total of six customers and employees were in the building when the smell became apparent. "We called the fire department as a precaution, to see what might be going on," she said.

Firefighters went into the building, detected a "strong odor" and evacuated everyone inside, according to Matheson. "We went through with gas monitors, and aired the building out," he said. "Once we did that, everything went back to ... normal. As far as we're concerned, everything's good."

Fire Capt. Ed Lewis said it took approximately 15 minutes for firefighters to determine there was no danger in allowing customers back into the AutoZone. He added that if a leak had been detected, evacuation would have been necessary for the entire area surrounding the AutoZone, which includes two daycare centers and a veterinary clinic.

The AutoZone manager said she was pleased with the fire department's quick handling of the incident. "Henry County responded great," said Abner.