Occupants of 12 homes in a Falmouth neighborhood were evacuated Wednesday after a landscaper drove over a surface cover to an underground propane storage tank and it began to leak.

The landscaper’s vehicle damaged the cover and propane sprayed out of a 500-gallon storage tank at 16 Brookside Drive, said Falmouth Fire Chief Howard Rice.

As a precaution, emergency responders closed Brookside Drive to traffic, cut power to about 80 homes, and evacuated 12 homes in the neighborhood following the leak, which was reported at 3:18 p.m.

No one was injured, but the danger posed by it was real, Rice said. Propane vapors, which are heavier than air, tend to gravitate to low-lying areas like basements.

“It was a significant leak,” Rice said. “We were concerned because the home’s driveway sloped down into a two-car basement garage.”

Propane is a flammable gas when mixed with oxygen, and can be ignited through exposure to a lighter or other open flame, or electrical sparks from a rotary telephone, light switch, doorbell, thermostat or other electrical components, Rice said.

First responders kept their distance while a crew from the home’s propane supplier, moved the propane from the damaged tank to a replacement tank. Once that had been done, those evacuated were allowed to return to their homes, at around 6 p.m., Rice said.

Central Maine Power Co.’s outage tracker indicated that most of the homes that had power shut off were located on Brookside Drive, but other affected streets included Heritage Lane, Indian Way, Partridge Lane, Robin Lane, Nest Lane, Arrowhead Drive, Running Brook Road and Wilson Way.

Power was restored to all the affected Falmouth customers by early evening.

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