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Repair Crew Breaks Gas Line in Riverside, Forcing Evacuations

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textalerts180 Repair Crew Breaks Gas Line in Riverside, Forcing Evacuations

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Homes were evacuated and services suspended Monday after a crew attempting to repair a leaking water main ruptured a gas line, causing a geyser of water and gas to shoot from the ground.

The break happened on Barton Street near Van Buren Boulevard just after 11:30 a.m. when crews from the Western Municipal Water District who were dispatched to investigate a water main leak accidentally broke  a gas line with a backhoe.

KCAL9’s Tom Wait reports the gas and water geyser created by the break appeared to shoot nearly 40 feet into the air.

Nine homes were evacuated and local schools alerted to the leak. No one was injured.

The Riverside Fire Department dispatched several engine crews to the site of the leak, which the Southern California Gas Company said could not immediately be repaired because of water also spilling out of the leaking water line.

“I actually saw the guy this morning working on our sidewalk,” resident Martha Townsend said. “I didn’t know what they were doing, but when I heard that our street was blocked off I immediately knew it was in front of our house.”

A spokesman for Southern California Gas Company said service would be restored sometime Monday evening.

Officials reminded the public to call 811 before digging to prevent damage to underground gas lines.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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