SHIRLEY, N.Y. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) – Residents in Suffolk County are having a much calmer morning after Saturday’s emergency wake-up call.

A leak in a 30,000-gallon underground propane tank led to the evacuation of about 900 homes in Shirley.

Investigators spent the day, metering the homes for levels of propane and cleared many of the homes by 8 p.m.

Dorene told WCBS 880 that her family left in a hurry, only taking the clothes they were wearing.

“We heard the sirens, woke up, saw the cops on the block. We got downstairs and my husband opened the door to see where the cops were going. He shut the door and was like ‘Get the kids up. I can smell the gas. We gotta get out of here,’” she said.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reports

Roads were packed as residents slowly made their way out of the area.

After 19 hours they received the all clear to return to their homes, but the experience left some shaken.

“This is like a reality check cause God forbid Long Islanders really have to get off the Island, I mean look around at the traffic and everything, we’d never get off.” Carol Delage said.

Investigators said the leak appeared to have been caused by a crack in a propane tank pipe.

Dorene described the scene as a scary sci-fi movie.

“That amount of gas could have leveled an entire length all the way up to where we are probably,” she said.

Frankie said the toxic odor in the air was choking and nauseating.

“I’ve seen people, cops knocking on the doors, people running with their kid in their arms trying to leave and everything,” he said.

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