Local emergency declared for site of numerous propane leaks west of Truckee | SierraSun.com

Local emergency declared for site of numerous propane leaks west of Truckee

Jason Shueh/Sierra SunA cabin lies in ruin on Bales Road in the Serene Lakes neighborhood after an explosion Friday decimated the former three-story structure, shooting wooden beams and debris into the air. Emergency agencies have been monitoring numerous propane leaks in the neighborhood, and Placer County supervisors have declared the area a local disaster.

SODA SPRINGS, Calif. and#8212; The Placer County Board of Supervisors has declared a local emergency for the Serene Lakes neighborhood west of Truckee, a decision made just days after an unoccupied three-story cabin erupted in flames and prompted emergency officials to issue a voluntary evacuation to nearby homes.

Supervisors made the unanimous decision Monday afternoon at their meeting at Northstar-at-Tahoe, after consultation with local emergency authorities who detected numerous propane leaks in the past few weeks near the neighborhood.

In a presentation to supervisors, Rui Cunha, Placer County’s emergency services program manager, said 27 leaks have been detected within the county, with 25 in the Serene Lake area. He said eight properties have been remediated.

Heavy snow in the region is estimated to be the cause of the leaks, Cunha said, and added that the situation appears to be worsening as snow melt increases.

and#8220;The snow is getting heavier due to melting, which is contributing to the issue,and#8221; he said.

The state of emergency is in effect for 30 days, retroactive to April 8, when the cabin exploded. According to a Saturday press release, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and Truckee Fire Protection District issued the evacuation after the cabin, located on Bales Road, exploded at 10:19 p.m., destroying it and sending debris flying hundreds of feet.

No one was injured, officials said in the release. Officials went on to report that the site of the explosion had not been identified as having been propane-related; however, emergency crews had previously detected propane levels at an adjacent cabin. That leak had been mitigated, officials said.

The evacuation order was put in place due to the continuing discovery of propane leaks in the area. During the voluntary evacuation and#8212; a non-mandatory evacuation chosen by residents and#8212; the sheriff’s office will monitor the area on a 24-hour watch.

and#8220;Public safety officials are encouraging residents and property owners in the area to leave until the order is lifted,and#8221; the press release reads.

An incident command post has been set up in the area to deal with the increasing number of sites, the release states. Truckee Fire, along with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the offices of Environmental Health and Emergency Services, are continuing work on remediating the leaking propane. There is still no estimate when leaks will be contained.

An Evacuation Information Center opened Sunday in the Judah Lodge at the Sugar Bowl Ski Area. The center will remain open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. or as long as needed. In addition, county staff will be available to respond to inquiries made to the Emergency Operations Center at 530-886-5310.

If residents smell gas, they should leave the home immediately without turning on or off any light switches or power. Call 911 from outside the residence to report the gas odor and wait a safe distance away for emergency personnel to arrive.

and#8212; Matthew Renda contributed to this report.

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