Los Angeles News

Hawthorne methane leak: Evacuees can't return yet

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

As work continues to repair the failed water well that released methane gas into a Hawthorne neighborhood last week, evacuated residents are waiting it out at local hotels.

A mother of two who was evacuated from her home on Truro Avenue last Friday is among nearly 40 evacuees staying at the Ramada Inn.

"I just can't wait to get back home and cook my own food," she said.

She tells us fire officials held a meeting Tuesday night to update residents. They were told they wouldn't be going home on Wednesday as planned and that it could be Friday before they get the all-clear. The residents raised other concerns at the meeting. They want to know if it's going to be safe even when everything is sealed up.

"We want to have another meeting after we're in our homes, so they can keep track of it and make sure that nothing is seeping through and that we're going to be safe while we're at home," said the resident.

Meantime, the Los Angeles County Fire Department says because crews discovered high pressure gas issues in the well, the fix won't be easy or fast. A blowout preventer has to be custom built to fit the well, and until that's done, resident's can't return home.

"The better plan is to put that sort of device so that these pressures can be monitored and controlled effectively. That plan to put that blowout preventer in place is being finalized as we speak," said Inspector Anthony Akins with Los Angeles County Fire Department.

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