NEWPORT, Maine — One of central Maine’s busiest intersections was partially closed down Saturday afternoon as police and rescue personnel struggled to ensure no one approached a dangerous propane leak behind the Newport Rite Aid.
Newport police Lt. Randy Wing said the store manager reported smelling propane around 3 p.m. When Wing arrived, he found that pipes leading out of two 1,000-pound propane cylinders were disconnected and dangling several inches away. Wing said he was unsure what caused the situation, but said there were no signs of human intervention.
“There were no footprints in the snow or anything like that,” said Wing. “I don’t know how it happened.”
At about 4 p.m., Wing said he and others were awaiting the arrival of a propane specialist to remedy the situation, but that it would be another hour or two before that person arrived.
Newport rescue personnel had Route 2 blocked off next to the store and were routing traffic onto Route 100 in both directions. The distinct odor of propane could be smelled at least 100 yards away, and Wing said it was much stronger closer to the tanks.
Police and firefighters cleared the scene later in the evening, and Rite Aid opened for business as usual Sunday.