UPDATED: Backhoe struck gas pipeline in Boardman

Boardman police and fire were called to the 7500 block of Hitchcock Road at 12:42 p.m. after a backhoe struck a gas pipeline.

Officials said there was no explosion, but a loud release of gas led to various reports of a blast at the site.

Dominion East Ohio officials are also at the scene where work has been ongoing on a pipeline project. As of 2:30 p.m., 20 homes of have been evacuated, and Hitchcock is closed to traffic from U.S. Route 224 to Squirrel Hill Drive.

Firefighters and workers from Dominion East Ohio were working to shut off five gas valves which run in a loop, and as of 2:30 p.m. three were shut off. Safety crews were having trouble locating the fourth valve at the intersection of Squirrel Hill Drive and Hitchcock Road and may have to dig up part of Hitchcock to find it.

One fire official said that when all five gas valves are shut off, between 50 and 100 homes on Hitchcock, Squirrel Hill and Deer Run Drive would be without gas.

The length of time of the shutoff is unknown.

Continue to watch Vindy.com or see Wednesday's Vindicator for details.

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