La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – A construction crew hit a four-inch natural gas line in La Pine Tuesday morning, causing a significant leak that prompted evacuations of several nearby businesses and the closure of Huntington Road, fire officials said.
La Pine Rural Fire District crews responded just after 9 a.m. to the reported gas leak in front of the La Pine Animal Hospital, in the 51000 block of Huntington Road, Fire Chief Mike Supkis said.
High Desert Broadband construction machinery struck the gas line, “sending a plume of dirt and rock upwards (of) 20 feet in the air,” Supkis said in a news release. Construction crews were able to evacuate and shut off equipment to prevent any fire.
An evacuation and shelter-in-place order was established for a quarter-mile radius around the leak, Supkis said, and an emergency shelter was opened at Rosland Elementary School.
The evacuations affected the animal hospital, where staff took care of all patients, as well as the La Pine Bi-Mart store, Mid Oregon Credit Union, the La Pine Senior Center (closed to the public until Sept. 1 due to the area’s COVID cases), the Little Deschutes Lodge residential complex and La Pine Physical Therapy, the fire chief said.
Firefighters evacuated high-risk buildings while Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies and the county Road Department set up a safety perimeter. Firefighters provided air monitoring to ensure safety in the area.
Cascade Natural Gas crews responded and shut off gas to the damaged pipeline by 10:30 a.m. Supkis said Huntington Road reopened and evacuation orders were lifted around 10:45 a.m.