BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - At 10:07 a.m. Monday, March 6, the Berkeley Heights Fire Department was dispatched to a reported gas meter that was struck and leaking natural gas on Sutton Drive.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Jim Hopkins, Berkeley Heights Police evacuated roofers to across the street. When the Fire Department arrived, the leak could be heard across the street. A hose line was stretched as a precaution. The gas leak was brought under control when a Firefighter shut the valve. 

The home was checked for natural gas with a gas detector, which proved negative. A dog that was inside the home was unharmed. 

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The leak was caused when a roofer accidentally dropped a hammer from the roof, striking the regulator on the gas meter, breaking it away from the meter. PSE&G arrived and effected repairs.  

While rare, natural gas line leaks can be extremely dangerous. The most telling sign of a natural gas line leak is the familiar rotten egg odor of the natural gas. This odor is added to the natural gas so it can be detected in the event of a leak. 

The biggest hazard of a gas leak is an explosion. When natural gas builds up in an enclosed area, it becomes extremely volatile. A gas build up has the potential to be explosive, or could make those in the area very sick.

The Fire Department reminds residents, if you detect a strong gas odor, follow these tips:

* Do not attempt to locate the leak.

* Do not turn any electrical appliances on or off.

* Do not smoke or use any open flames.

* Leave the house and, from a safe distance, call  9-1-1 and PSE&G. 

* When digging outside, if a natural gas line is damaged, call  9-1-1 and PSE&G.. Do not attempt to repair the line.

By following these safety tips, natural gas can continue to be a safe and efficient source of energy for the home.