PARMA -- Copper thieves are blamed for causing an evacuation in Parma Tuesday afternoon.
Gas company workers contacted the Parma Fire Department after detecting readings of natural gas outside the vacant house on Maplecrest. A passerby who smelled the natural gas had alerted the gas company.
Firefighters arrived on scene and found the gas meter flowing natural gas.
Twenty-six houses in the area were evacuated as a precaution while the gas was turned off and the house ventilated.
In the basement, firefighters found the hot water heater had been moved and copper pipes stolen.
Residents were allowed to return to their homes by mid-afternoon.
Parma police are investigating.