San Diego

Gas Line Break Causes Evacuations of Homes, Day Care in North Park

A construction crew struck a gas line in North Park Wednesday, causing a leak and prompting evacuations, officials said.

The gas leak was reported just after 2:20 p.m. along the 4200 block of Utah Street near Howard Avenue. The area is south of El Cajon Boulevard, near North Park Community Park.

A construction crew digging in the alley ruptured a three-quarter connector at the main line, officials said. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) crews cordoned off a potential explosion zone.

Several emergency agencies quickly responded to the scene, including police, and firefighters.

Several homes and a daycare were evacuated, according to officials.

Tannia Fajardo and the eight children napping at her Adventures in Montessori Day Care woke up to an overwhelming smell.

"Just run, grab my backpack for safety information, and just take the kids, out my mind is just the kids, count the kids," said Fajardo.

Crews spent around two hours locating and shutting off the open valve in the street that fed the ruptured line. 

Fajardo's day care and 11 customers were affected, officials said.

"Now I feel happy because my kids are safe," Fajardo said.

The subcontractor responsible for the dig, tells NBC 7, the gas company mapped the pipe more than a foot below grade. He says they ruptured it somewhere around five inches below grade which is less than half as deep.

SDG&E Spokesperson Helen Gao said they could not verify who was at fault but says the accident is being investigated. Gas service was restored to 12 affected customers before 9 p.m.

Fajardo's day care chose to remain closed until tomorrow. 

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