Gas line capped; evacuation lifted
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Aug 01, 2012 | 3204 views | 1 1 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pipeline ruptured
Pacific Gas and Electric Company workers gather along W. Kavanagh Avenue at Corral Hollow Road as they work to repair a 4 inch gas main that was ruptured during construction work Wednesday, August1.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
view slideshow (4 images)
A construction crew working at the intersection of Corral Hollow Road and Kavanagh Avenue hit a 4-inch gas line underground, causing a substantial natural gas leak Wednesday, Aug. 1, according to fire officials.

The leak forced the evacuation of about 100 homes east of Corral Hollow Road.

“We got the call for a gas leak at 9:04 a.m.,” said Tracy Fire Department Capt. Mike Oliveri. “A construction crew had hit the gas line, and when we arrived we could hear it hissing. It was 20 feet from a house in a ravine area.”

Concerned with the gas flowing into the atmosphere and into adjacent neighborhoods, Oliveri said firefighters and police officers went door-to-door to evacuate residents in the blocks immediately east of Corral Hollow Road.

The evacuation area, he said, was between Corral Hollow Road, Grant Line Road, Golden Springs Drive and Interstate 205, with two additional homes on Turnstone Street.

“Our primary concern was Clearbrook Court, Kavanagh Avenue and Woodcrest Court, because the leak was so strong,” Oliveri said.

Firefighters arranged for Jacobson Elementary School, 1750 Kavanagh Ave., to be used as an evacuation station for local residents with the cooperation of school principal, Cindy Sasser. Sixteen residents reportedly went to the school’s multipurpose room until they were allowed back into their homes around 11:30 a.m.

Some residents said they were awoken by news of the gas leak.

“I heard a knocking at the door, and there was a firefighter,” Ethan Padilla said, who lives on Meadow Brook Lane with his mother and younger brother. “He said, ‘You’ve got to get out. There’s a gas leak.’ He told us to turn off the air conditioner, close the windows and go to the Jacobson School.”

Padilla’s mother, Adrienne, said she could smell a strong odor of gas inside her house, and it got stronger when they went outside.

“At first I was really nervous,” she said. “We had to leave our cat behind, because we couldn’t find the carrier.”

According to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman Nicole Liebelt, the construction crew helping with the widening of Corral Hollow Road hit a marked gas line while installing street lights. She said PG&E crews were notified and capped the leak on the damaged pipe. Repairs were expected to be completed later Wednesday.

Notification of the gas leak was sent online to subscribers of Nixle, a free online service that allows police dispatchers to notify the public of emergencies or community events.

Tracy Fire Department Capt. Steve Hanlon said the Nixle service is good because it can notify residents more quickly than traditional methods, since more people rely on cell phones and few have access to a landline. The notification can be sent to residents by email or text, he said.

Crime Scene Investigations Unit Supervisor Fred Kelley, who oversees the Nixle service at Tracy Police Department, tallied 253 subscribers. He said it’s a handy tool that has been used in the past to notify the public about police pursuits, fires and road closures.

Residents can sign up for the service on the Tracy Police Department website by clicking on CrimeWatch and the cell phone icon.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 01, 2012
The nixie service is quite flexible.

You can get email only, txt only, or email txt. You need to register for free on the website and then search by zip code for your local agencies that send alerts. You can also shut off the alerts during certain hours, like when you are sleeping, etc.

We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at