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Gas eruption forces evacuation of downtown Leamington, Ont.

A major natural gas eruption in Leamington has led police to evacuate the town's downtown, according to Ontario Provincial Police.

Hundreds of businesses and homes included in evacuation area, say police

Emergency crews shut down a section of Leamington's downtown Saturday afternoon during a major gas leak. (Brett Thomas)

Hundreds of businesses and homes were evacuated during a major gas leak in downtown Leamington, Ont., early Saturday afternoon. 

An underground natural gas line erupted near the intersection of Erie and Mill streets, according to Ontario Provincial Police police. 

An area of the downtown will be evacuated for several hours, including homes and businesses near Erie Street North, Talbot Street East, Princess Street and Russell Street.

The containment area is enough to keep everyone safe while the source of the leak is determined and repaired, explained Leamington Mayor John Paterson.

Emergency officials contacted him this afternoon to inform him about the situation.

"The area has been evacuated and everyone is safe," he said.

Hundreds of businesses and homes were evacuated in downtown Leamington, Ont., after a major gas leak occurred Saturday afternoon. (Brett Thomas)

Some restaurant workers near the containment area did not seem alarmed. Chad Robinson at Gilligan's restaurant on Erie Street just received notice from a customer about the evacuation. 

"I'm not too worried," he told CBC News.

An employee at Gingerbread House restaurant said the street is blocked off right outside, but the restaurant has not been evacuated.

Police are asking people to stay away from the downtown. The cause of the leak is still unknown.

Union Gas crews are also investigating.