AUBURN, MASS. (WHDH) - A Home Depot in Auburn was evacuated after a customer reported smelling gas on Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The liquid natural gas leak was reported in the rear of the store at 779 Washington St., according to Auburn Fire Rescue who say a 1,000-gallon propane tank was leaking liquid fuel, which froze in place.

“It froze the ground around it. We had to chisel, but they were afraid to chisel and break the valve off, which would cause even more of a problem for us,” Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Johnson said.

With four of those massive tanks underground, a mistake could mean a big explosion.

“I’m talking large ones… there would be a large, large explosion,” Johnson explained.

Firefighters created a controlled burn to manage the leak.

“The solution is to drain the tank down, all the propane out of it, 1,000 gallons, and burn it off,” said Johnson.

No one was injured but the store was closed for the rest of the night, officials said.

Firefighters warn those in the area not to be alarmed if it appears the Home Depot parking lot is on fire as the flames could be visible well into the night.

“They may see it potentially from the road, but everything is under control,” Johnson said.

No further details were released.

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