Neighborhoods evacuated after gas leak in Mexico's Puebla

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hundreds of people in the central Mexican city of Puebla are returning home after billowing clouds of flammable gas apparently caused by an illegal pipeline tap forced an early morning evacuation of several neighborhoods.

Authorities closed dozens of schools early Wednesday, and urged residents to turn off lights, heaters and stoves and leave .

Crews from Mexico's state-run gas company Pemex were able to control the leak and by late morning people were allowed to return. The leak also shut down activities at the city's main wholesale market during the morning crush of business.

Pemex says via Twitter says the leak was in an underground gas line apparently damaged by an illegal tap. It immediately closed the pipeline.

Thieves drilled 10,363 illegal taps into state-owned pipelines in 2017.