Stores in the Ingles shopping center on Ga. 400 were evacuated for nearly two hours Monday after a crew attempting to fix a water leak ruptured a gas main.
The three-man crew was working with a small backhoe when the break occurred about 4 p.m.
"The crew had all of the lines marked, but when they've lain in the ground that long, sometimes the marks are off," said Tim Satterfield, deputy chief of Dawson County Emergency Services.
According to Chief Lanier Swafford, the businesses were cleared until about 5:30 p.m.
"That's when they reoccupied the stores," Swafford said. "It was a little larger gas line so we had to take some extra precautions."
According to Satterfield, the line was at least 2 inches in diameter.
"It's a pretty big line," he said.
A representative of Atlanta Gas Light and a construction crew from Cumming got the gas turned off, according to Satterfield.
Thanks in part to a swirling wind that funneled the gas straight up, there were no reports of illness.
Traffic on Hwy. 53, as well as Ga. 400, was not affected.
Satterfield said it didn't appear the crew had done anything wrong.
"They were inside where they were supposed to be," he said. "Sometimes things like this just happen, it's not that uncommon."