TAMPA — Customers were evacuated and buses detoured for hours Thursday because of a propane gas leak at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said its crews were securing the valve on an 18,000-gallon tank at the hospital, located at 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
Although a portion of 131st Avenue was shut down, the hospital didn't evacuate patients and continued to admit people, said Carolyn Clark, a medical center spokeswoman.
She said late Thursday afternoon that the leak was under control, and that a company would repair the tank.
Fire crews did not explain how the leak occurred.
But because of it, some businesses were closed or put on alert up and down E 131st Avenue.
Eddie Nisere, 40, manager of the Kwik Stop on 131st Avenue, said firefighters arrived around 1 p.m. and asked him to evacuate customers from the store.
This is the first time the tank has leaked in the 16 years he has worked at the convenience store, he said.
Nisere and his employees were told to remain in the business, and that it could be for hours while the leak was cleaned up.
"It's good we have food," he laughed.
Eight HART bus routes were detoured from driving up E 131st Avenue between N 22nd Street and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, said Frank Wyszynski, a spokesman for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit.
After nap time ended around 2:30 p.m. at the Children's Discovery Center on N 23rd Street and E 131st Avenue, the kids weren't able to go outside.
"They told us not to let the children onto our playground because our playground faces where the firefighters are," said Kenya Dickinson, an employee.
There were no reported evacuations across Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.
Business went on at the University of South Florida's Shimberg Health Sciences Library.
No firefighters appeared there and no evacuations were ordered, a spokeswoman said.