Natural gas leak forces evacuation |

Natural gas leak forces evacuation

A severed natural gas main stopped train traffic and evacuated a business park near the western undercrossing on West River Street Wednesday morning.

A Burdick Excavating Co. backhoe dug into the soil and completely severed the 4-inch line across the street from the undercrossing construction shortly after 9, according to fire and sheriff officials.

West River area

Two Truckee Fire Protection District engines and one California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection engine responded to stabilize the area. Once on scene, Incident Commander Lt. Craig Harvey called for a mandatory evacuation of seven businesses in the area. Harvey also halted the movement of Union Pacific railcars through the area.

Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies assisted in closing the road from Northstar Lighting to Highway 267.

Employees from the evacuated businesses were asked to leave on foot instead of attempting to start their cars near the flowing gas.

“We were getting positive levels (of gas) in the parking lots,” Harvey said. “There was no way that people were going to be allowed to start their cars.”

NCSO Sgt. Bill Evans said some people rolled their cars from the area and then started them.

Water lines were deployed to protect Southwest Gas employees who entered the ditch where the leak was located.

The road was reopened shortly after 10 a.m. when TFPD and NCSO were cleared of the scene. Gas service was not interrupted to any Southwest customers, according toByron Elkins, Southwest district manager.

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