Gas pipe leak closes several streets |

Gas pipe leak closes several streets

Katherine Morris

Several streets surrounding Tahoe Forest Hospital were evacuated Wednesday morning when construction crews working in the area accidentally ruptured a gas line.

At 10:43 a.m., Truckee Fire crews were dispatched to the 11,000 block of Spring Street after receiving reports of a natural gas leak in the area.

“Longo Construction was working on a water line when the tines on a backhoe pierced the line,” said Gene Welch, public information safety officer for the Truckee Fire Protection District. “It was a two-inch main line with six pounds of pressure.”

Shortly thereafter, emergency crews evacuated a major portion of Spring, Sierra, Lake and Pine streets between Donner Pass Road and Interstate 80.

The commotion clogged Donner Pass Road with rubbernecking motorists, some of whom even stopped and exited their vehicles to see what was going on.

“Tahoe Forest Hospital was not evacuated, however, its day care center was,” Welch said.

The Truckee Fire Protection District dispatched two engines, one ladder truck and one ambulance to the scene.

Personnel from the California Highway Patrol, the Town of Truckee, Caltrans, the Truckee Police Department, Animal Control and the North Tahoe Fire Protection District also responded to the scene.

“We came pretty close to shutting down part of Interstate 80 at one point, but luckily we didn’t have to,” said CHP Officer Kirk Bromell.

By 11:41, the leak was stopped and the neighborhood reopened.

“We’re not sure how much gas was lost at this point, but Southwest Gas emergency crews were able to clamp the line at both ends so that no service was disrupted,” Welch said.

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