Gas Smell forces Hy-Vee evacuation

Employees evacuated a Cedar Rapids Hy-Vee following what smelled like a gas leak to some, Saturday evening.

Shortly before 7:00 p.m., customers and employees at the grocery store at 1843 Johnson Ave. NW noticed a strange smell inside the building. (KCRG)

Shortly before 7:00 p.m., customers and employees at the grocery store at 1843 Johnson Ave. NW noticed a strange smell inside the building. Hy-Vee personnel told shoppers to leave their items behind and emptied the store.

The smell was potent enough it could be detected within about 50 feet of the building's exterior.

Brian Wilken, the Hy-Vee's store director, said he was unsure of the potential leak's source. Wilken said MidAmerican Energy was on scene to help find out what was causing the gas smell and to make any repairs if needed.

A spokesperson at Hy-Vee's corporate offices was certain the alleged leak did not come from inside the store but said she too was unaware of the scent's exact origin. The spokesperson said the grocery store had reopened as of around 8:15 p.m.

At last check, around 8:45 p.m., a MidAmerican spokesperson said the energy company's employees on scene had yet to determine where the odor was coming from or what exactly it might be. She said all reports of strange odors are taken seriously.

No Hy-Vee employees or customers were hurt during the incident.

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