About 50 residents of two apartment buildings in Southeast were evacuated yesterday when gasoline leaked from an underground tank at the 7th District police station into sewers, and fumes from the fuel made their way into the basements of those buildings, officials said.
Residents of the buildings at 3000 and 3004 30th Street SE -- both about a block away from the station at 2501 Alabama Ave. -- were evacuated about 3:30 p.m. by Fire Department rescue workers.
Deputy Fire Chief Joseph A. Quander Jr. said that at least 3,700 gallons of gasoline leaked into the sewers. He said officials had drained the leaking tank and were flushing water into sewer drains to dilute the gasoline.
Quander said there were no injuries as a result of the leak. He said officials decided to evacuate the buildings after tests revealed gasoline vapors. "With the vapors in the basement, there's always a chance of explosion," Quander said.
By late last night, officials said the fumes had dissipated, but said residents would be kept out of their homes at least for the night as a precaution.
Officials opened Garfield High School, at Irving Place and Alabama Avenue SE, as a temporary shelter. But few residents seemed eager to go and some said they would seek shelter with friends for the night.
"It's not our fault this is happening," said Shirley Williams, who lives in one of the buildings. "They should be able to give us some place decent to stay."
Outside the apartment buildings last night, about 25 men, women and children milled about. Residents said they had been told to leave quickly and didn't have a chance to gather many belongings.
"We can't even go in our house to get water," Williams said. "We can't go in to fix a meal."