IONIA, Mich. (WZZM) -- Customers, workers, and visitors were forced out and businesses closed in downtown Ionia, after a gas leak Friday morning. Emergency officials ordered everyone to evacuate for a couple hours, while Consumers Energy crews worked to repair a damaged gas line.
It was nothing like the smell of a burger on the grill.
"The moment someone opened the door it was horrible," says Stephanie Nemeth, owner of Aunt Stephie's Restaurant.
A gas leak outside Aunt Stephie's forced an evacuation on Main Street in downtown Ionia.
"We had to clear the restaurant out at quarter after 10 a.m., turn stuff off, leave breakfast stuff out," says Nemeth.
"Literally the smell of gas was so bad, you couldn't take a deep breath," says Rhonda Butler, an employee at Dood's Jewelry. "Instantly, probably within a minute I had a headache."
Butler says she first notified Consumers Energy about the gas leak at around 9 a.m. on Friday. A short time later, emergency crews told everyone on the street to leave the area.
"It was like a domino effect. It all happened so quickly, I think once they realized the severity of the situation the police were involved and everyone was moving very quickly to get out of their buildings," says Butler.
Consumers Energy shut off gas. No gas was detected in the buildings and around noon the evacuation order was lifted. Crews finished fixing the gas line at around 3 p.m. Consumers Energy says the gas leak happened after a private contractor who was working on a city water and sewer project hit a two-inch gas line.
"I was kind of annoyed, I know it was an accident and nobody's fault, but it made it hard to get ready for lunch today, today's our busy lunch here," says Nemeth.
The owner hopes that on Saturday the only smell will be a coming from inside the restaurant and that customers will have plenty of time to eat it.
No one was hurt during the gas leak. Consumers energy says about ten businesses were left without gas for a while, but that problem has now been fixed.