Blue Springs, KS – Authorities evacuated several homes and a day-care center near downtown Blue Springs this afternoon after a gas leak sent strong odors through the neighborhood.

The Central Jackson County Fire Protection District was called to a vacant home in the 1700 block of Smith Street about 1:40 p.m. because of an explosion and fire. Crews determined that a natural-gas leak had spread into sewer lines.

Police and firefighters evacuated a day-care center near 17th and Main streets, taking the children to Thomas Ultican Elementary School and then the Blue Springs School District Freshman Center.

Authorities also went door-to-door and evacuated residents from an area roughly bounded by 17th, 19th, Main and Walnut streets. It is unclear how many residents were evacuated.

Gene Gould, assistant Central Jackson County fire chief, said that utility crews had been replacing a gas main in the area when the leak occurred, but it was unclear what caused the leak.

The initial house fire quickly was extinguished, and no injuries were reported, Gould said. He added that the explosion was minor.

About 3:25 p.m., most residents were allowed to return to their homes, though police continued to block vehicles from the area.