Firefighters responded to a underground propane tank leak Monday night at 18 Shirley Lane in Cumberland after a neighbor riding an all-terrain vehicle rode into the tank’s release valve, breaking it off.

The leak was reported at about 8 p.m. Falmouth firefighters, who had been responding to a nearby stove malfunction in that town, were the first on the scene. Falmouth Fire Chief Howard Rice said when crews arrived they could hear a loud hissing sound the gas made as it was escaping the 1,000 gallon tank. The three houses on the short dirt road off Middle Road had already been evacuated.

Firefighters sprayed a mist pattern of water on the escaping gas to prevent a fire or explosion until Dead River could arrive and patch the tank.

Rice said the buildings were tested and had no propane fumes. Crews cleared just before 10 p.m. Nobody was hurt.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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Twitter: @Mainehenchman