A construction crew struck an underground gas main near the corner of Main Main and Rosemont streets in Hartford late Monday morning, restricting travel in that area and disrupting business.
Emergency crews evacuated of all buildings in the area of Tower Avenue and Main Street.
Joyce Reynolds had left the Arc welding shop, where she works, to get office supplies and wasn't allowed to get back to the shop.
"There are sparks, open flame -- even the grinding machine puts out sparks. And when there's gas in the air, you're sure to have an explosion,” Reynolds said.
Maria Jeffrey said she could see what looked like a plume of dust rising from the scene on Main Street just before noon. But it was gas and she could smell it.
Now the smell is gone but authorities are keeping the public at least a block from the scene as a CNG crew works to repair the damage.
North Main Street was closed between Tower Avenue and the State Building and reopened Monday afternoon. Windsor police directed all Hartford-bound vehicles onto Interstate 91.