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Gas pours out after workers sever line in First Addition neighborhood

A severed gas line created some anxious moments Wednesday morning in the First Addition.by: DAVID MORRIS, LOFD - A Lake Oswego police car and fire truck were at the scene of a severed gas line Wednesday morning in the First Addition. No injuries or property damage - other than the line - were reported.

A city crew working with a backhoe on a sewer line in the alley of the 500 block of Fourth Street cut into a gas line going from the gas main to a residence. The damage happened at about 8:30 a.m., Lake Oswego Fire Department Battalion Chief David Morris said.

The line was about 3 to 4 feet beneath the surface and gas immediately began pouring out, Morris said.

The workers immediately shut down their operation, located in the block between the downtown Safeway and Rossman Park, and contacted the fire department and Pacific Power & Light. The fire department responded with two engines along with Morris. Residents in four or five neighboring homes were evacuated because one of the primary concerns was whether the gas was going into the open sewer line.

PP&L officials were able to determine that “measurable levels of gas” were indeed detected in the sewer, according to Morris.

“Anything can spark an explosion if conditions are right,” Morris said, noting that turning a light switch or a thermostat kicking on have been known to ignite gas.

Within 45 minutes the line was shut down. Crews from PP&L will repair it.

Morris cautioned that “the best thing to do” if you suspect gas is leaking is immediately leave the area without turning anything on or off and call 9-1-1. By itself, gas is odorless so companies add a chemical that gives it the familiar “rotten egg smell” to help people recognize the problem, he said.

Lake Oswego Police Department assisted with shutting down the area, Morris said.



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