One person was taken to the hospital and others reported being lightheaded and nauseated at the Moss Point Piggly Wiggly on Tuesday morning.
The Moss Point Fire Department emptied the store, evacuating employees and patrons, and began searching for a possible gas leak after the report came in of a strong gas smell in the grocery and the adjacent Fred’s in the strip mall on Mississippi 613, just north of Interstate 10.
City Fire Chief Tommy Posey said after a thorough check of the stores began at 10:30 a.m., they were reopened at midday and doing business, all except the deli at Piggly Wiggly.
He estimated the stores were closed for two hours.
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“We had to do a lot of searching in the interior and in the ceilings of the stores,” Posey told the Sun Herald.
He said the gas would remain shut off in the deli until Piggly Wiggly maintenance crews come in from out-of-town to deal with the gas lines. He said the lines would be tested and would have to pass the city’s building inspection before the deli is cleared for use.
“We evacuated to be on the safe side, to see if there’s a problem with the system,” he said.
The city Public Works Department and the Jackson County Emergency Management team were called to assist.
He said there had been an odor in the area over the weekend, but officials still haven’t determined if there is an actual problem with the gas lines.
On Tuesday morning, Earl Etheridge, director of county emergency operations, said firefighters were using gas-detection monitors to search all the stores in the strip mall, including Piggly Wiggly, Fred’s and Sears. There are five vacant store fronts that were checked as well, he said.
The Public Works Department ran tests on the meters on the building.