Firefighters were sent to a street around the corner from the White House after a natural gas leak was reported there, according to authorities. (DC Fire and EMS)

Washington is known for its leaks, often understood to mean the surreptitious supply of information to the media. On Tuesday, another kind of leak, a potentially deadly and dangerous one, caused disruption almost at the doorstep of the White House.

A leak of natural gas at a building that was being worked on in the 700 block of 15th Street NW, caused that road to be shut down for hours while adjacent ones were also blocked for a time, according to the D.C. police and fire departments.

It was not until 11:32 p.m. that the D.C. emergency management agency said repairs had been completed and all travel lanes reopened.

Early in the episode, which apparently began near the start of the workday, the Secret Service said on Twitter that a “suspected gas leak” prompted the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. Lafayette Square was also closed, the Secret Service said.

D.C. Fire officials evacuated the construction workers who were in the building at the time and office workers who were in some buildings along the west side of 15th Street NW, as crews worked to stop the leak.

Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for D.C. Fire, said the “gas line was broken during the course of the renovation work” that was being done in the basement of the building.


Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was shut down Tuesday after a gas leak was reported on an intersecting block of 15th Street NW, authorities said. (DC Fire and EMS)

An apparent witness to the incident said on Twitter that “we all had to evacuate buildings,” adding: “You can definitely smell the gas.”

Later, in an updated Twitter message, sent around 11 a.m., the fire department said Washington Gas, the local gas utility, had controlled the leak.

It said firefighters were ventilating the buildings involved

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.