About 500 people have been evacuated from Federation Square in Melbourne’s CBD after a major leak from a gas main.
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) was called to the popular pedestrian area about 11.30am.
Fire officials said the leak was caused by a broken natural gas pipe in one of the shops in the area.
A large amount of gas leaked from the pipe, the MFB said, and people were evacuated.
The MFB said the leak was now under control and crews were monitoring the area.
It said the likelihood of an explosion was minimal as all ignition sources were removed.
‘People were spilling into the street in all directions’
MFB senior station officer Paul Eckholdt said crews found the source of the leak quickly and the evacuation went smoothly.
“Once we identified the leak it was then a matter of ensuring we ventilated the facility to ensure we didn’t have any opportunity for an explosion to occur.”
“People were spilling out into the street in all directions.
“It was a very orderly evacuation and [it] was undertaken in approximately 10 minutes.”
Mr Eckholdt said people were forced out of Federation Square for about 90 minutes before they were allowed back into the area.
He said it was the first time Federation Square had a major evacuation.
“This is a rare event,” he said.
“This was an unpreventable leak, it was just a failure within the gas main itself.”
Federation Square is located across the street from the Flinders Street train station.