A dangerous gas leak along Friar’s Road Wednesday forced the closure of several popular shopping destinations in the Mission Valley area.
As of 10:45 p.m., nearly 12 hours after the leak was first reported, the Mission Valley Hazard Center, Mission Center and parts of the Fashion Valley Mall remained closed to customers.
While restaurants and stores like Denny’s, BevMo and CVS missed out on evening transactions, unaffected shops like Paradise Yogurt enjoyed a steady flow of customers.
"The opener, her feet were hurting so bad. It was just constant. She did not sit down at all. There was no time to rest at all,” employee Edith Belman said, describing what the day was like for her coworker on the morning shift.
Paradise Yogurt was one of a few businesses in its shopping center that was allowed to stay open
More than 3,000 people living in the area were forced out of their homes and weren’t allowed back until close to 8 p.m. Others that worked in the congested retail district were also sent home early, but nightmare traffic awaited them on the highways nearby.
“There was just so much traffic all around,” Belman said. "There was actually so much traffic that people were stopping to get out of the traffic just to be out. They would go to the nearby stores that were open."
Businesses like Paradise Yogurt didn’t mind. Their sales boomed despite the chaos.
“They were so tired, they would want something sweet to brighten up their day a little bit," Belman added.
The majority of these businesses in the area still have closure signs up Wednesday night, but since the gas leak has been contained, freeways have been reopened and evacuations have been lifted, they’ll likely be back at it Thursday.
Officials are still not yet sure of the cost of the massive leak, but considering potential overtime for employees of CalTrans, CHP, and San Diego firefighters and police, not to mention lost business for those nearby shops, the price tag could be quite large.
NBC 7 will do its best to investigate and get some answers.