Gas Leak Forces Evac in AZ

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 @ 07:10 PM gHale

A leaking gas pipe forced the evacuation of 15 homes in a Chandler, AZ, neighborhood Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters responded after residents in the 5000 block of Kesler Lane reported a small fire in a bush outside their home, according to Chandler Fire Department Battalion Chief Blas Minor.

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The home’s residents initially tried to douse the blaze with a garden hose and noticed it kept re-igniting, Minor said. When firefighters arrived, they discovered the gas leak.

Initially, firefighters evacuated only the homes in the immediate vicinity but then realized the leak was “larger than we thought,” Minor said.

As of 4:30 p.m. Saturday, 15 homes evacuated and firefighters were checking homes west of the point of origin as they track the leak. Minor said occupants would be able to return to their houses shortly, but said they had to turn off the gas and determined the location of the leak.

Fire units from Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale and Gilbert also responded to the incident, as did Southwest Gas. In all, nearly two dozen fire vehicles were at the scene.

At about 5:15 p.m., Minor said the houses impacted are not on gas and southwest Gas was still investigating the exact source of the leak.

Gas to the pipe in that area ended up turned off and firefighters were waiting for residual gas to dissipate. Firefighters were monitoring all the manhole covers in the area to make sure the gas hasn’t migrated farther than the evacuation area. There were no injuries in the incident.