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Georgia Avenue reoopens after investigation into mysterious odor

Update (6:45 p.m.): Investigators used chemical detection meters to search in manholes and accessible underground areas, but they emerged clueless as to the cause of the incident, officials said.

About 20 people were evacuated from the area and another 75 were advised to stay in their homes. The evacuees were allowed to return, and Georgia Avenue was reopened to traffic, at about 6 p.m., officials said

-- Ashley Halsey III


Update (6:05 p.m.): Officials are now reporting that a single manhole cover erupted into the air. Police were investigating if a second manhole cover also had flown into the air.

About 20 residents in the immediate area were asked to leave their homes, and may be returning later Monday, a fire department spokesman said. Another 75 residents were asked to stay inside their homes, officials said.

Update (5:30 p.m.): Emergency crews are still on the scene. Georgia Avenue remains closed between Dennis Avenue and University Boulevard.

Update (4:10 p.m.):
Two manhole covers erupted into the air in Montgomery County on Monday afternoon, with one crashing through the front windshield of a passing motorist, according to initial accounts from police and fire officials. She was hospitalized but is expected to survive, police said.

Hazardous materials and utilities teams descended onto the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Plyers Mill Road, south of downtown Wheaton, where residents had reported an unidentified odor. As of 3:20 p.m., officials had closed off a one-mile stretch of Georgia Avenue between University Boulevard West and Dennis Avenue, and expected it to be closed until after rush hour.

Authorities also were considering evacuating homes in the area. The source of the odor remained unclear.

The motorist was traveling near Georgia and Plyers Mill when the manhole cover went through her windshield and ended up in the back seat, said Cpl. Dan Friz, a Montgomery County police spokesman. She was taken by ambulance to Suburban Hospital, and from there taken by helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Friz said. Initial reports termed her injuries non-life threatening, Friz said.

-- Dan Morse

Update (3:40 p.m.:) Georgia Avenue is now closed between University Boulevard and Dennis Avenue. Emergency officials expect the road will remain closed until after the evening rush hour.

Traffic cameras show emergency officials are still on the scene, and traffic is congested throughout the region. Motorists can use Colesville Road or University Boulevard as alternates.

Update (3:15 p.m.): Montgomery County fire and rescue officials closed down Georgia Avenue in the area of Plyers Mill Road Monday afternoon, and were considering evacuating houses in the area after reports of an unidentifiable odor around 2 p.m., county officials said.

As of 3:05 p.m., Georgia Avenue was completely shut down between Veirs Mill Road and Dennis Avenue, said Capt. Oscar Garcia, a spokesman for the county's fire department.

-- Dan Morse
Original post: Emergency crews are on the scene investigating a possible gas leak in Montgomery County on Georgia Avenue. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, the highway is closed in both directions, a move that is sure to play havoc with the afternoon commute.

Two manholes reportedly experienced explosions earlier this afternoon.

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, the highway is closed in both directions. Traffic cameras show traffic being diverted onto Dennis Avenue.

By Michael Bolden  |  January 25, 2010; 2:59 PM ET
 
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Comments

Police at the scene advised that a manhole cover had hit a passing car, causing a serious accident.

Posted by: lilydiva | January 25, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Odor? It's a warm day and DC is rotting.

Posted by: member5 | January 25, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Odor? It's a warm day and DC is rotting.

Posted by: member5 | January 25, 2010 3:45 PM
=====================

What is your problem? Do you have a reading comprehension deficiency?

The article clearly sstated the incident occured in Montgomery County.

Posted by: ceefer66 | January 25, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

What is your problem? Do you have a reading comprehension deficiency?

The article clearly sstated the incident occured in Montgomery County.

Posted by: ceefer66 | January 25, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse
*************************************

We all know, thanks to leggett & OweMally, that Monkey County stinks.

Its the fumes, comming up from the barrio, or the back up from the Legget bathroom.

Posted by: Robbnitafl | January 25, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Stink is mobile. ceefer66 is proof of this.

Posted by: member5 | January 26, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

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