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Backhoe ruptures gas line in San Jose

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One home has been evacuated and 10 others have been issued an order to shelter in place in San Jose after a construction crew hit a high-pressure gas line with a backhoe and ruptured it, according to fire officials.

Firefighters responded at 10:06 a.m. to calls by neighbors who smelled gas coming from the area of the intersection of Miller Avenue and Tucker Drive, Fire Capt. Daniel Vega said.

When the first crews arrived on scene, they found that the pipe, which is about 2 inches in diameter, was ruptured in two places and the pressure had begun to cause the pavement to cave in on itself, according to the fire department.

Vega said PG&E crews told the fire department it will take at least three hours to clamp off and secure the line, so fire crews established a perimeter and blocked off the affected area from the public until then.

Vega said a nearby church that serves as a preschool has called their students’ parents and told them to come and pick them up for the time being, since firefighters don’t want to take any risks. However, there is not an official evacuation order for their site.

The fire department’s hazardous materials team arrived on scene around 11 a.m. in order to utilize their air monitors, which show how far the gas leak is extending and whether or not the perimeter set up by fire crews is accurate for residents.

Vega said the whole area of the intersection is closed off since the pipe burst almost exactly in the middle of it, and that light water is being sprayed onto the two locations of the burst in order to keep the leaked gas at a minimum.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has rerouted their 26 westbound line to begin on nearby Prospect Road, taking a right on Johnson Avenue, a left on Rainbow Avenue and then wrap right back onto Miller Avenue to the regular route.

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