Construction workers accidentally punctured a natural gas line underneath Congress Street on Thursday morning, prompting fire officials to evacuate a handful of nearby buildings as a precaution.

Portland Fire Department Capt. David Petruccelli said the accident occurred near the intersection of India and Congress streets. He said residents and workers in nearby buildings where the smell of gas was strong were evacuated.

A crew from Unitil, the local natural gas company, was on the scene by 10 a.m. to repair the line, Petruccelli said. Firefighters stayed behind as well because of the potential flammability of natural gas.

The fire captain did not know who was doing work underneath the road but said he didn’t believe it was a city crew.

“This is not uncommon,” Petruccelli said. “Dig Safe is a great program to let crews know where lines are buried, but it’s not perfect and sometimes things can shift in the soil.”

The fire department tweeted just before 10:30 a.m. that the leak had been secured by Unitil, but people were asked to stay clear of Congress and India streets.