HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — Crews Monday capped a well leaking methane gas in the South Bay that has forced dozens of residents out of their homes.

Golden State Water workers were capping the well, located on Imperial Highway in Hawthorne, last Thursday when they suddenly experienced an unexpected outflow of water mixed with the gas, the company said.

Nearly 40 families in the area surrounding the well have been evacuated and put up at local hotels due to the gas’ high flammability.

“When are we gonna be back? How safe is it? It’s scary because I have a 2-year-old,” one resident said.

The Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway between Crenshaw Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway as well as the transition roads from the 405 to the eastbound 105 were shut down for a short time, according to the California Highway Patrol. All roads were reopened by 11:20 a.m.

Fire officials said the colorless and odorless gas also has the potential so ignite flash fires.

The water stopped spouting around 11 a.m. after crews pumped mud into the well. It will eventually be covered with concrete.

It was unclear when families would be allowed to return to their homes.

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