Gas Leak Evacuates Venice Neighborhood

VENICE (CBSLA) — A natural-gas line rupture at a residential property in Venice Monday prompted evacuations and a hazmat probe, and the discovery of suspicious items on the property where the emergency originate triggered the deployment of a police bomb squad.

However, a Los Angeles police spokesperson told CBS2 Tuesday morning that the cause of the break was not believed to be intentional in nature. The investigation had been turned over to the Southern California Gas Company.

Firefighters responded about 1:35 p.m. Monday, to a report of a natural gas leak in the area before the containers were found at 2013 S. Walgrove Ave., near Palms Boulevard, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

“When they arrived, they identified what they believed was a tampered gas meter, and there were some unidentified items near that meter,” Det. Meghan Aguilar told reporters Monday night.

A bomb squad was summoned, as were SoCalGas workers, but details about what, if anything, was in the containers found at the rear of the property were not immediately available.

About 50 surrounding homes were evacuated as a precaution and Walgrove was closed to traffic between Vienna Way and Victoria Avenue. Glencove Avenue was also closed, from Victoria Avenue to Vienna Way, Stewart said.

A gas company crew pinched off the severed line and continued digging to reach a shut-off valve. The valve was closed at about 8 p.m., which also interrupted gas service to about 60 homes in the immediate area, said gas company spokesman Chris Gilbride.

The premises were rendered safe about 10 p.m. and the evacuations were lifted, according to Officer Mike Lopez of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section.

An evacuation center was set up at the Penmar Recreation Center at 1341 Lake St. for displaced residents, but less than 10 people used it, Stewart said.

The gas company planned on restoring service to affected customers by 8 a.m. Tuesday.

(©2017 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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