Apartment residents evacuated over 'malicious' gas line break
CHAMPAIGN — More than 100 residents of a west Champaign apartment complex had to be evacuated from their apartments early Thursday because of a gas leak at a nearby bar.
Champaign Fire Capt. John Barker said "malicious activity" caused the leak at a gas meter at Bradley's II, 1906 W. Bradley Ave., C, about 1:50 a.m.
Barker declined to say exactly what happened, but that the activity is under investigation by firefighters and police.
A release from the police department said employees heard a "strange sound" coming from outside the beer garden before discovering the gas leak. They called for help and evacuated the building. Police confirmed that the gas line had been tampered with.
Reports suggest two disgruntled men removed from the bar earlier by employees because they were being disorderly may have been involved, the release said.
"The way the gas line broke, gas was getting into Bradley's. Because of all the new construction out there, the gas valve in the ground was not easy to get to. They shut it off at a remote site."
Barker said the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District sent buses to shelter the approximately 100 to 150 residents who were evacuated. The complex at 2002 W. Bradley Ave., just west of the bar, has six buildings. Only two had to be evacuated. It rained off and on during the incident, Barker said.
Many of the residents are Parkland students. They were driven to the college so that they could use the facilities. They were not allowed back in their apartments until 5:40 a.m., Barker said.
Barker said apartment managers were there to help.
Police have made no arrests and ask anyone with information about who may have tampered with the gas line to call the police department at 217-351-4545 or Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477.