ST. ALBANS CITY — Excavators working outside St. Albans City Hall on Wednesday morning nicked a gas line, forcing a temporary shutdown of gas service to buildings along Main Street.

City hall and adjacent Traveled Cup coffee shop were evacuated immediately, said contractor Jim Cameron, who oversees the city hall renovation.

Gas service to city hall has been shut off since work began there earlier this year. However this line was a feeder line to the building.

“We were excavating for electrical lines,” said Cameron. “The excavator nicked a high pressure gas line.” As part of the renovation new electrical lines are being installed.

“Gas started blowing all over heck,” said Cameron. “I know that’s a technical term.”

Firefighters and Vermont Gas workers responded quickly, he said.

Capt. Matt Mulheron, of the St. Albans City Fire Dept., said that his personnel evacuated three additional buildings on either side of city hall and set up water lines in case they were needed while Vermont Gas turned off the gas. “They were really quick,” he said.

Once the line was turned off, firefighters used gas meters to check gas levels in buildings.

The evacuations lasted about an hour, according to Mulheron. Firefighters were on scene for two hours.

“We fixed it and we’re moving on,” said Cameron.