Gas leak in Sanger has PG&E crews working round the clock

January 23, 2009 11:47:21 PM PST
Sanger Firefighters evacuated more than a dozen guests from the Town House Motel around noon Friday after PG & E gas detectors found a massive leak on Academy near Church. Acting Lt. Todd Wilson said, "We actually saw natural gas bubbling up out of cracks on Academy Avenue."Finding the leak proved more difficult. Police shut down half a mile of Academy while PG&E dug three holes in the street. The power company says crews found two leaks which took hours to repair.

Lt Wilson said, "That's something you don't want to mess with and that's why we evacuated the area and blocked off the road."

Motel owner Har Dawar said, "It was huge, big leakage no doubt." Dawar says he started smelling gas more than a week ago. But his concerns grew even more when his motel sign mysteriously caught fire on Thursday. And then it happened again Friday. Dawar said, "If the sign wasn't there, a bigger explosion maybe." Lt. Wilson added, "If the gas can find an ignition source it could have been very dangerous."

Dangerous or even deadly. On Christmas Eve in a Sacramento suburb, a suspected gas leak caused a home to explode. One person was killed and five others were seriously hurt. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating that incident. And so is PG&E which is looking to see if there is a common thread between the leak there and the one in Sanger.

Jeff Smith, a PG&E spokesperson said, "Anytime there is a gas leak we absolutely compare and contrast with other situations to make corrective action." Smith says every gas line is checked for leaks once every three years and most are checked even more often.

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