Monday, February 7, 2011

Digging Causes Natural Gas Leak

Lakeside Firefighters were called to a residence in a mobile home park to help with a natural gas line break that was the result of digging for landscaping.  There was not a fire caused by the gas leak, but the gas line was not able to be quickly clamped-off. As a result, several residents in the adjoining occupancies were evacuated to the clubhouse.

A schematic was used to find the shut off valves for the gas lines.

Shutting off the line proved to be challenging. Firefighters had to access park utility schematics to find the shut-off valves which had to be dug up. After several tries, the poly (plastic) gas pipe was finally clamped-off using a portable hydraulic spreader from El Cajon Engine 8 (Madison Ave. station).

Portable spreaders did a great job stopping the leak
After approximately 30 minutes, the line break was contained and residents were able to return to their homes.  This incident should act as a reminder that when digging in any residential areas you must first find out where underground utilities as located.   One of the services offered in San Diego county is the Dig Alert program.  For more information see their website at: .

Crews digging for a shut off valve

Units responding to this incident on the first alarm came from the Lakeside, El Cajon and San Miguel fire departments.  This incident was in an area close to where these three fire districts border one another.  The number of agencies represented on this response demonstrates the effectiveness of the automatic aid dispatching system which dispatches the closest available units to every call.

Story and photos by:  Engineer/Paramedic Bernie Molloy

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