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Excavator hits natural gas line in La Pine subdivision; leak prompts alert, warning to shelter in place

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La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – An excavation crew working in a new La Pine subdivision struck a two-inch natural gas line late Tuesday afternoon, causing a leak that prompted warnings to dozens of nearby residents to shelter in place and avoid any outdoor open flames until repairs were complete about an hour later.

La Pine Rural Fire District Lt. Joey Sawyer said crews were called around 4:20 p.m. to a reported gas leak at a site in the Crescent Creek subdivision under construction on Musket Drive, west of Highway 97.

“We could hear it 50, 75 feet away," Sawyer said. "Dirt was flying.”

First responders used the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deschutes Alerts system to contact about 120 people living within about 500 feet of the address, advising them to shelter in place and refrain from any outside debris burning or outdoor use of smoking materials, he said.

Firefighters also went door to door throughout the neighborhood downwind from the gas leak, to make sure people got the word. Street traffic into the area also was closed for a time.

Cascade Natural Gas crews were called to the scene and were able to clamp the affected line while not having to shut off gas service in the area. The situation was resolved before 5:30 p.m.

Along with a reminder to use the 811 line locator service before any digging, Sawyer pointed to the importance of signing up for the Deschutes Alerts service.

“It’s super-important, living out here in a rural area,” he said, for incidents ranging from a gas leak or brush fire to a railroad incident. “There’s a lot going on with people going through our area.”

Article Topic Follows: Accidents and Crashes

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Barney Lerten

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