An Augusta stationery store was evacuated Monday after workers reported an unusual, gas-like odor, which turned out to be coming from next door.

According to Augusta Fire Department Battalion Chief Jason Farris, firefighters responded at about 11:30 a.m. to a call from The Paper Store, located at 14 Stephen King Dr. within the Marketplace at Augusta plaza.

Firefighters evacuated the entire building as a precaution, Farris said, and everyone was kept at a distance of 300 feet, following safety protocols.

Farris said firefighters went through every store, metering for gas.

Most of the mall runs on propane provided by Dead River Company, he said, but The Home Depot is the lone store in the plaza to use natural gas supplied by Maine Natural Gas. Both companies sent crews to assist firefighters.

Firefighters said a minor natural gas leak was detected in an appliance at The Home Depot, which is separated from the Paper Store by a wall.

The rest of the mall was deemed safe within 30 minutes and people were allowed to return to The Paper Store building.

Farris said Maine Natural Gas worked to seal the leak at The Home Depot, which was also deemed safe to reopen about 60 minutes after the initial calls.

No propane leaks or leaks of any other kind were found inside The Paper Store, Farris said. Dead River decided to provide some upgrades anyway.

With the exception of The Home Depot, the rest of the mall was deemed safe within 30 minutes and people were allowed to return to the building.

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