Serene Lakes propane update: Homeowners ordered to plug gas leaks or pay for fix |

Serene Lakes propane update: Homeowners ordered to plug gas leaks or pay for fix

Jason Shueh / Sierra SunA cabin lies in ruin on Bales Road in the Serene Lakes neighborhood after an explosion on April 8 decimated the former three-story structure, shooting wooden beams and debris into the air.

SODA SPRINGS, Calif. and#8212; Placer County has ordered all homeowners in the Serene Lakes neighborhood with leaking propane pipes to repair them immediately or face reimbursement charges.

According to Friday press release, Placer County Executive Officer Tom Miller on Thursday signed an order that mandates residents and#8212; many of whom are second homeowners and#8212; either fix leaking propane systems or await charges for county maintenance workers who now are authorized to enter and service impacted homes.

Abatement options and deadlines will be based on the county’s assessment of the level of safety risk posed by a particular owner’s propane tank system leak, according to the press release.

Should a property owner choose not to fix leaks, Miller’s order authorizes the county to gain entry onto the property, first through owner permission and#8212; and if that fails, through the courts.

If the county mitigates a leak, officials will seek reimbursement from the property owner of all costs of abatement at a later date, and possibly lien the property if there is no cooperation.

Miller’s order comes after an April 11 county board of supervisors meeting where trustees authorized a Proclamation of Local Emergency for the area, most of which remains without power due to potential explosions.

The county estimates more than two dozen homes in the area have been affected by leaking propane, reportedly caused by the extraordinary snowfall this winter breaking pipes and tanks buried under dozens of feet of snow.

While it hasn’t been confirmed, county officials believe leaking propane caused an April 8 explosion that demolished an unoccupied three-story cabin in Serene Lakes, sending debris flying hundreds of feet.

Due to potential safety risks, property owners with tanks buried under significant snow are asked to first contact the Department of Environmental Health before initiating any clearing activities around a tank.

Placer County, along with the Truckee Fire Protection District, is staffing an evacuation information center at the Summit Restaurant and Bar in Soda Springs. The center, at 22002 Donner Pass Road, is open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Residents, visitors and contractors are asked to stop at the center during and obtain a placard that will identify those with a legitimate reason to be in the community. For additional information, call 530-886-5310.

Anyone who smells propane should immediately exit the area to a safe distance of 300 feet and call 9-1-1. They should avoid starting engines, turning on cooking and heating appliances and fans, or using other ignition sources. Flipping on a light switch can provide a spark.

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