Knowlton Technologies Evacuated After Vehicle Crashes Into Busin

Knowlton Technologies Evacuated After Vehicle Crashes Into Business

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Watertown's Knowlton Technologies was evacuated after a vehicle slammed into the side of the business and ruptured a gas line Friday afternoon.

The section of Mill Street at Factory Street was closed to traffic.

Fire Chief Dale Herman said a vehicle crashed into Knowlton Technologies at around 12:15 p.m. 

The impact created a hole in the wall and cracked a 2-inch natural gas line, he said.

Approximately 50 Knowlton employees had to evacuate the building, according to a worker who did not want to be identified.

The Black River Adventurers Shop across the street was also evacuated. Officials said natural gas could have seeped into that building through underground tunnels and vaults.

"National Grid arrived and made an attempt to close the (natural gas) valve at street level, were unsuccessful and had to bring in some additional heavy equipment to excavate near the valve. At little after 2 o'clock they were able to shut the valve off," said Herman.

Officials said the initial crash involved two vehicles and a pedestrian.

Todd Phelps, owner of Black River Adventurers Shop, said he "heard a loud bang and then another crunch."

That sound caused Phelps and others on Mill Street to run outside and to the windows. And what they saw were two vehicles collided and one person outside the vehicles.

"A pedestrian lying on the ground and a couple people around him and then just down the street a vehicle hit the building," said Phelps.

One of the vehicles involved created a fuel spill on the Mill Street bridge. A spill response team from the state Department of Environmental Conservation was called in to clean it up.

According to Watertown police, the driver of one of the vehicles had a medical issue, sped up, hit a pedestrian and then hit another vehicle, which struck Knowlton Technologies.

The pedestrian suffered a broken leg and was taken to the hospital, police said.

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