Gas leak in the North Valley causing evacuations and road closures

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Crews are at the scene of a gas leak that forced some evacuations in South Merced.

Traffic is shut down on Martin Luther King Jr. Way from 13th Street to Childs Avenue.

The Merced City Fire Department was called out to this area around noon on Wednesday after a PG&E unit that's designed to proactively detect leaks did just that. The fire department evacuated a tire shop and an auto body business and set up a perimeter.

PG&E crews then arrived at the scene to start digging up the line so they can repair it. That process is still underway right now and it's expected to take at least a couple more hours, so drivers will need to take a detour.

Fire officials say they're glad the PG&E unit detected this leak before it had the chance to cause any more serious issues.

Gas leaks can lead to health problems if the gas is inhaled, and they also have the potential to cause fires and explosions.

But again, crews say the situation out here is under control. PG&E just needs some time and space to finish the repair.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.