City fire and police officials have closed Anapamu Street between State and Chapala streets because of a reported gas leak in the area.
Information at the moment is scarce, but The Independent has learned that the street is blocked off to vehicle traffic and pedestrians are currently unable to walk down the north side of Chapala Street.
South California Gas Company employees are also reportedly on the scene.
More information on the leak will be provided once it becomes available.
[UPDATE, 2:45 pm]: City Fire battalion chief Robert Mercado told The Independent a few minutes ago that plumbers were clearing out tree roots from a stopped-up back flow sewage pipe when they accidentally sawed through a gas line at 18 West Anapamu Street.
Because the now-leaking gas is “potentially flammable,” Mercado said, the street will be closed for the next 1-2 hours as crews scramble to stop the flow. Nearby business have been evacuated.
Because the line’s shutoff valves are reportedly under thick concrete, Gas Company personnel are working on crimping the line, he said. There’s also reportedly been talk of jack-hammering through the concrete to get to the valves.
Jason Poole, an employee at nearby Hobby Central, said the plumbers were working with electric saws to clear the roots. He said he heard a “metal ‘ping’” and a “rush of gas,” comparing the sound to “like cutting through an air hose.” Poole said stuck his head out his store’s window and asked the workers if they had indeed hit a gas line. “Yeah,” they responded.
“They then started running around with wrenches,” he said.