The Merrill Fire Department was notified by Lincoln County 911 Dispatch Center, just after 6 p.m. Tuesday evening for a report of a very strong smell of natural gas, near the area of the intersection of Highway K and Pope Road in the Town of Merrill. Incident Command along with Merrill Fire personnel responded to the scene initially with Engine 2 and Medic 3.
Before arriving to the intersection of K and Pope Rd., Merrill Fire Department personnel could smell the strong odor of natural gas. Command was established and a perimeter was set up. Command evacuated the initial bystanders from the area. With help from the Lincoln County Sherriff’s Department, the Merrill Police Department and Merrill Fire Units, a perimeter was established to prohibit entrance into the area with the strongest odor. The perimeter was set from the 51 & K on/off ramp to the north, K & Duginski Rd. to the South, Hillside Dr. & Lake Pesabic Rd. to the west and Pope Rd. & Pit Rd. to the East, those residents inside the perimeter were asked to stay inside.
Wisconsin Public Service had been notified immediately upon the dispatch of Merrill Fire and responded with a Merrill based unit. Upon arrival of WPS personnel, they requested more help from surrounding area WPS personnel. Once on scene, WPS entered the perimeter area with gas detectors to locate the source of the odor. 
Motorists were reporting natural gas smells as far north as County Rd. C. After testing the entire interior of the perimeter, WPS found little odor of gas in the hazard zone at that time. The natural gas seemed to have dissipated from the initial area. WPS expanded their search zone. After approximately 4 hours on the scene, nothing could be pinpointed as the cause and the perimeter boundary was removed and emergency crews cleared the scene. WPS remained on the scene to investigate further.