SOUTH BEND, Ind. (10/8/10)--A massive gas leak Thursday in downtown South Bend, Ind., temporarily closed more than a dozen businesses, including the main office of Teachers CU. Teachers CU CEO Richard Rice said that he was leaving the credit union to attend a meeting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday when he heard sirens. Rice said he often hears sirens in the area around the credit union, usually because of false alarms. However, the fire department was responding to a gas leak that occurred at a construction site about a block from Teachers CU. “You could smell the gas,” Rice said. The local police and fire departments used buses to evacuate everyone in the downtown area and took them to the University of Notre Dame. The leak closed all businesses downtown, including the County-City Building and the courthouse. Teachers CU was impacted by the evacuation, so the credit union shut down its main operations and switched to an offsite backup computer system to run its 45 other branches. A credit union helpline and call center also were switched from the main office to other branches, and tellers working at the downtown location were dispersed to other brances. At 1:30 p.m., Teachers CU was re-opened its offices after the gas leak was capped. “I give the city of South Bend kudos,” Rice said. “[The evacuation] was not haphazard. The fire department and police department handled it, and they had a good disaster recovery system.” Teachers CU has $1.9 billion in assets.