The Cook’s Corner Mall was evacuated late Wednesday morning after a natural gas leak was reported. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — The Cook’s Corner Mall in Brunswick was evacuated for two hours Wednesday while first responders investigated a reported gas leak.

Police cordoned off the parking lot and blocked entrances shortly after 11 a.m. Brunswick Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Emerson said a natural gas line was damaged during construction behind the Staples building.

The damaged line was outside the mall, but Emerson said firefighters were worried the gas could get inside the building. Maine Natural Gas was called to repair the pipe and teams of technicians and firefighters checked the building’s interior to make sure there was no gas building up.

Emerson said no one was hurt. The mall opened up again around 1 p.m.

Renovations are underway at the mall, where Staples is relocating to make way for a new Hannaford grocery store. A contractor doing excavation work behind the building damaged the gas line, not the company doing construction on the building, according to fire officials.
Kevin Cougot, a Staples employee, said they evacuated the store after a construction worker alerted them to the leak. The evacuation went smoothly, he said while waiting outside with coworkers until firefighters allowed them enter the building again.
Emerson said there has been a heightened awareness of gas leaks after a building exploded due to a propane leak in Farmington last month, killing a firefighter and injuring seven others. The firefighters welcome that awareness.
“We want people to call us if there’s a problem and we’ll come,” he said.