BY THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
The Quincy Commons Shopping Center was closed for about an hour early Wednesday morning as Quincy police and fire personnel investigated a fire and possible gas leak.
Assistant Fire Chief Tom Bentley said an electrical fire at Delmonico's Steakhouse, 3720 Broadway, set off a sprinkler system, which extinguished the fire but also smothered the pilot lights on stoves, causing a gas leak that spread natural gas fumes to neighboring businesses.
Bentley said there is water in Delmonico's and some in the neighboring businesses, including Star Nail.
Officers were originally called to the center at 36th and Broadway at 5:02 a.m. for a possible gas leak and when an officer said he could smell gas and saw water coming from under the steakhouse's door.
The Quincy Fire Department was called at 5:07 a.m. Four engines, an incident command unit and 14 firefighters responded. Five QPD officers were dispatched, as was an Adams County Ambulance.
Businesses that were open — Hy-Vee and Panera Bread — were evacuated, gas was shut off to the area and the center parking area was closed to traffic. Additional police officers were dispatched to block entrances to the shopping center. Central Services were called to set up barricades to block traffic.
The situation was brought under control at 6:07 a.m. Employees and customers were allowed the return to stores, and the shopping center was open to through traffic.