Updated at 4:10 p.m.
Residents have been instructed to close their windows after a gas main break in Beltsville, which has shut down roads and caused the evacuation of several businesses.
Prince George’s County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said that a strong smell of natural gas has permeated the air in Beltsville and the northern area of College Park. Residents should stay inside with the windows closed to avoid breathing the gas.
No illnesses have been reported, Brady said.
A contractor drilling on Sunnyside Avenue hit a four-inch high-pressure natural gas line around noon, Brady said. Gas began rushing up through the asphalt.
Washington Gas spokeswoman Mariam Nabizad said that the gas was turned off at 3:35 p.m. No one had lost gas service as a result of the leak, Nabizad said.
Several businesses on the 5000 block of Sunnyside Avenue were evacuated. Sunnyside was closed at Rhode Island Avenue, and Route 1 was closed from Sunnyside to Montgomery Road. Route 1 had reopened by 3:30 p.m.
This break is the second in Maryland’s Washington suburbs this week, following one on Wednesday in Gaithersburg.