GORHAM — Public safety officials had to evacuate 10 homes in a Gorham subdivision Thursday morning after a contractor broke a natural gas line.

Gorham Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre said the contractor, Design Dwellings Inc. of Gorham, was using an excavator to dig a hole for a home foundation around 9 a.m. when it inadvertently struck a gas main line causing a gas leak.

Residents from 10 homes in the Hawkes Farm development, which is located on Tink Drive, were evacuated as a precautionary measure. Lefebvre said strong morning winds helped blow the gas away, and lessened the risk of an explosion. Residents were able to return to their homes about an hour after the leak was reported.

The fire chief said the gas line has been capped by a crew from Maine Natural Gas, but he was not sure if more repair work will need to be done.

Lefebvre said his department is investigating whether the gas line was properly marked.