Dodge City's Wal-Mart store closed down for about three hours Sunday due to a natural gas leak.

    The Dodge City Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at about 10:23 a.m. to help evacuate and ventilate the building, Capt. Ken Spencer said Sunday afternoon.


Dodge City's Wal-Mart store closed down for about three hours Sunday due to a natural gas leak.

    The Dodge City Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at about 10:23 a.m. to help evacuate and ventilate the building, Capt. Ken Spencer said Sunday afternoon.

    He said the evacuation took between 10 and 15 minutes, and ventilating the building took about two and a half hours.

    The spokesman said as far as he knew, no one reported that their health was affected by the gas leak.

    Black Hills Energy spokesman Curt Floerchinger told the Globe that a Black Hills crew responded to the scene at about 11 a.m. after Wal-Mart employees reported smelling gas in the building.

    "We went in and we tested, and there was definitely a potential for gas in the building," he said.

    Customers left entire carts of merchandise as an announcement came across the PA system asking them to leave.

    Once the building was evacuated, the Black Hills crew locked the gas meter, shutting off the supply of gas until the source of the leak could be found.

    Floerchinger said that Wal-Mart officials would conduct a pressure test of the store's gas system to identify any leaks, then fix them. He said once that's done, a Black Hills crew would switch the gas back on.

    The store reopened at about 1:30 p.m.

    Wal-Mart store co-manager Randy Wilson referred a call seeking comment to the company's public relations hotline.

    Company spokeswoman Kristy Reed said that store officials were still working on identifying the source of the leak as of 5 p.m. Sunday. She said she could not comment on how the temporary shutdown had affected the store's sales.

Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.