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    DCF’s Chelmsford office evacuated due to gas odor

    The Chelmsford office of the state Department of Children and Families was evacuated Thursday after an employee reported smelling gas in the building, officials said.

    Firefighters responded to the two-story building at 2 Omni Way around 10:54 a.m. There was a “slight odor” of gas inside the building, but the firefighters’ gas-detecting equipment was not triggered, Chelmsford Fire Chief Gary Ryan said.

    “We didn’t get an elevated reading on our readers, and that’s a good sign, but you do want to detect where [the gas smell] is coming from,” Ryan said.

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    The gas was shut off in the building, and crews from National Grid, which provides the building with gas, were at the scene with the building’s head plumber, working to figure out the source of the gas smell, Ryan said.

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    The gas leak was determined to be the result of a problem with the building’s gas pipes, not an issue with National Grid equipment, according to National Grid spokesman Bob Kievra.

    Shortly after noon, the building was deemed safe enough for employees to go back in to collect their belongings, but they were not allowed to stay permanently, Ryan said.

    The building is “currently closed due to a small gas leak,” a DCF spokeswoman said in an e-mail. “The closure does not impact DCF’s ability to respond to reports of child abuse and neglect. All staff members are being relocated and phone lines have been forwarded to DCF’s Lawrence Area Office.”

    The DCF offices are on the second floor. The first floor is currently undergoing a renovation, Ryan said, but it is not yet clear whether that construction had anything to do with the leak.

    Andres Picon can be reached at andres.picon@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andpicon.