Firefighters are concerned they were not told for at least 20 minutes after a gas pipe was broken in Mount Maunganui.
Contractors working on lines in Hull Rd, near Totara St, yesterday cut through the gas line with a digger but contacted the gas company first rather than calling the Fire Service.
Firefighters were told at 10.45am, and Tauranga senior station officer Len Sabin said this was concerning.
"People in the vicinity of the gas leak told us [they'd smelled the leak] for about 20 minutes to half an hour. That was a bit of a concern," he said.
Mr Sabin spoke with contractors regarding the delay.
He said the leak was not major but still dangerous "because of the potentially explosive nature of the gas".
"The road was still open when we got here and it's not ideal having traffic driving through a gas cloud."
The gas pipe was just under 4cm wide.
Police blocked off the road at Totara St and Mark Rd.
Firefighters approached businesses in the area to evacuate them as contractors fixed the leak.
The road was re-opened about 15 minutes later.
- staff reporters