AM 760 KFMB - Talk Radio Station - San Diego, CA - Crews make repairs after gas line break in Mission Valley

Crews make repairs after gas line break in Mission Valley

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - San Diego Gas and Electric crews have plugged the massive natural gas line leak that shut down Fashion Valley Mall, forced thousands from their homes and snarled traffic in Mission Valley and around the county Wednesday.

The 900 customers remain in the area - who were without gas service early Thursday were expected to have gas by 6 p.m. Thursday. 

Tenants at Fashion Valley Mall have had service restored. 

SDG&E said it would go to homes without gas service and reignite the power light.

“We are now in the repair phase and our crews have been out all night working to make those repairs and we hope to have service back to those customers as soon as possible,” Joe Britton, a spokesperson for SDG&E said.

A major natural gas line leak was plugged Wednesday night, and SR-163 reopened, following the evacuation of 3,300 people and numerous workers from the heart of Mission Valley. First responders lifted all evacuations and road closures.

RELATED: Fashion Valley Mall back open for business

On Wednesday, crews working on an expansion of the Friars Road overpass at Route 163 cut through the line near the corner of Friars Road and Ulric Street around 10:30 a.m.

The gas line is reportedly used to transfer a high volume of gas and it took hours for the gas to be clear from the line. 

The flow of gas wasn't stopped until 6:15 p.m., according to Colleen Windsor of San Diego Gas and Electric. "Our crews will now be assessing the damage to the pipe," Windsor said.

VIDEO: Authorities hold press conference with update on Mission Valley gas leak and evacuations

Everyone in a half-mile radius of the area was evacuated in the afternoon, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Alec Phillipp.

“The gas is dissipating out in the open, but it is a hazard if a spark hit it," said San Diego Fire Department Deputy Chief Steve Wright. "In the right vapor pressure it could ignite, so we want to get those people out as quick as possible.”

CHP officers began closing SR-163 between I-8 and I-805 around 11:30 a.m. Friars Road was closed in both directions near SR-163. Police also closed the off ramp to Friars Road on the northbound SR-163.

Around 2:45 p.m., close to 3,300 people from 1,100 homes had been told to evacuate, Phillipp said. The entire Fashion Valley Mall was also evacuated, as well as numerous other nearby stores and offices.

While there was no "immediate danger" this was a precautionary measure implemented by the San Diego Police Department at the recommendation of San Diego Gas & Electric, according to a statement by a representative of the mall. 

SDG&E says the rupture was caused by a third-party contractor who accidentally drilled into the 20-inch pipe. 

No injuries were reported as a result of the incident. 

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