For Release: 03/17/2008

Evacuees Return Home Following Natural Gas Leak and Repair

Rochester, MN - Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation (MERC) reports that since the source of the natural gas leak in the 800 block of 36th Street S.W. was repaired last Wednesday (March 12), ventilators have been working around the clock to remove trapped gas in the ground under the frost. Six homes had been evacuated during this process. MERC employees performed continual monitoring of gas levels in the neighborhood. The gas that had been trapped under the frost is now ventilated.

“We were very cautious through the process to make sure there was no danger before we allowed people to return to these homes,” said Rory Lenton, MERC manager of external affairs in Rochester.

The people from the evacuated homes have been staying at a local hotel and were advised that they would be able to return to their homes this evening. The homes have been evaluated and checked for the presence of natural gas over the past six days and Minnesota Energy Resources is confident that the area is safe. MERC employees relit furnaces and appliances this afternoon and will conduct a final check prior to the return of the occupants.

MERC would like to publicly thank the Rochester Fire and Police departments and the American Red Cross for their help and support at the site and working with the families affected by this incident.

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