Crews worked to fix a gas meter in Scripps Ranch after authorities say a driver ran into it Thursday, causing a gas leak and a dangerous situation for people in the area.
Many businesses and restaurants were evacuated just after 8 p.m. after a damaged, large diameter line started releasing gas at the Scripps Ranch Business Park at 9925 Carroll Canyon Road, which near Interstate 15. Investigators believe someone backed into the gas meter and took off.
About 50 people were told to leave the complex as the gas leak until the meter was shut off around 2 a.m.
A firefighter told an NBC 7 crew to move back "because if this thing blows, half this property is going with it."
"We have an explosion risk," said Capt. Daran Osborne with San Diego Fire-Rescue. "We don't want to get to close to it. We want to make sure there's no source of ignition, so we're not letting any cars in. We are trying to keep everybody at least 100 feet away." Police aided in traffic control.
Firefighters say it took so long to stop the gas because SDG&E crews were busy with another call of a similar magnitude. Thankfully, there was no wind blowing the gas in a concentrated direction, so it dissipated into the air.
However, construction crews must dig deep under asphalt to even reach the broken line, officials said.
Then they will search for the hit-and-run driver. An employee of one of the businesses said they have security cameras pointing right at the gas meter, so police will go through the footage Friday to try to get a vehicle description.