The historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse was evacuated earlier this afternoon after city firefighters received reports of a natural gas leak inside.

Fire crews, said a spokesperson for the city, were informed workers had been repairing a 2-inch natural gas line in the courthouse’s basement. Although they first shut down the building’s gas supply, the workers called 911 after they became concerned about the amount of residual gas released from the pipe.

Responding firefighters monitored the building’s air with gas detectors, and eventually determined that in order for the structure to be properly ventilated everyone needed to be evacuated. They placed positive pressure fans in the basement to clear out the gas, and opened first and second story windows.

Traffic on Anacapa Street was closed from Victoria to Figueroa streets for around 40 minutes, said the spokesperson. Everyone was allowed back in by 1:15 p.m.


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