DES MOINES, Iowa — MidAmerican Energy says a malfunction in equipment caused too much odorant to be added to a gas line, releasing a strong odor of natural gas.
According to the company’s spokesperson, it received more than 395 odor reports calls between Thursday night and Friday afternoon.
On Thursday night , around 400 guests were evacuated from the downtown Marriott Hotel.
“It’s my son’s wedding this weekend, so I grabbed my dress, my husband and my sister in law and we went 30 floors down,” said hotel guest, Susan Wasko.
Early Friday morning, an apartment building at 648 19th street and the “Montessori and More” pre – school were also evacuated.
Kenny Beach works next door to the pre – school and worried for the children’s safety. He ran to shut off the gas line behind the building.
“That was the scary part especially for them. Parents actually turned around and went home with their kids,” he said.
Beach said it was almost two hours before MidAmerican crews arrived on scene. The company’s spokesperson, Ruth Comer, says due to the high volume of calls more help was needed.
“We are bringing in technicians from other cities in our territory to help. We want to get that backlog of calls addressed as quickly as possible,” she said.
Residents are advised to leave the area and call MidAmerican to report the odor at 800 – 595 – 5325.