MONTGOMERY, Ohio — A split-second mistake at a construction site in Montgomery sent flames and smoke shooting into the air for hours Wednesday, forcing some people in nearby buildings to evacuate and blocking multiple intersections as crews fought the blaze.
According to Montgomery city spokesman Matthew Vanderhorst, a truck backed over a gas line and struck a utility pole around 2:30 p.m., triggering the fire. The driver abandoned the burning truck; nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution. No one was injured, Vanderhorst said.
A Duke Energy spokesperson said all the gas is now off and isolated. Crews will work into the night cleaning up after that explosion that brought the intersection of Montgomery Road and Ronald Reagan to a standstill, authorities said.
Officials said northbound and southbound Montgomery Road is currently open, while eastbound Ronald Reagan from I-71 will remain closed throughout the night.
Just down the block, Sophie Kramer was on her way to work when the explosions happened Wednesday afternoon.
"There were people coming from all directions,” she said. “It was just insane."
Chris Burns, a 30-year resident of Montgomery, heard two explosions and watched the mad dash to contain the soaring flames that followed.
"It startled us, and for the next half an hour, siren after siren after siren. It just kept going,” he said.
Multiple Hamilton County police and fire departments were called to respond, including Blue Ash, Madeira, Deer Park and Sycamore Township.
Moeller High School students passing by also pitched in to help fire crews run a hose line near the blaze, according to a school spokesperson.
Moeller High School students safely assisted firefighters this afternoon at the scene of the Montgomery gas fire. The Men of Moeller helped run a 5-inch hose line from an engine company to the fire scene. Proud of these guys! #BeReMarkable pic.twitter.com/LH9dIdyko7— Barrett Cohen (@BigMoBarrett) October 7, 2020
And while no one was hurt, images of the explosion are something those who live and work here hope not to see again.
"I couldn't believe it was real," Kramer said. "I've never seen anything like that, especially so close to me. It was just shocking."