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Major gas leak forces National City homes, nearby school to evacuate

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Posted at 4:44 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 22:40:51-04

NATIONAL CITY (CNS) - A construction crew accidentally cut through an underground utility line in a South Bay neighborhood Tuesday, prompting a gas leak that forced evacuations of a primary school, a strip mall, and dozens of homes.

Workers excavating under a stretch of roadway in the 3400 block of East Eighth Street in National City as part of a cable-laying project ruptured the 6-inch-diameter pipeline about 10:30 a.m., according to fire department officials.

The resulting heavy stream of escaping flammable vapors forced evacuations of nearby Ira Harbison Elementary School along with a retail center and about 75 homes, NCFD Chief of Emergency Services Frank Parra said.

The evacuation order was lifted around 7:19 p.m., allowing residents to return to their homes.

Because of the gas leak, SDG&E advised that gas service to homes in the area may still be out. The company said it’s working to restore service.

East 8th Street will continue to be closed between Harbison Avenue and East Plaza Boulevard as crews work on repairs.

Evacuation area: