Local

Fresno gas leak; Shaw closed between 1st and 6th streets

Friday, March 15, 2013

Authorities say Shaw Avenue traffic, between First Street and Sixth Street, is expected to be shut down until Saturday. Alternate routes to avoid Shaw are Barstow, Ashlan, and Bullard.

Dozens of businesses have been evacuated and power is shut off to 300 customers in nearby buildings and apartments while crews work to fix the leak. Once detected and repaired, the crews will have to check the 300 businesses and homes nearby to make sure they are safe.

PG&E says the gas is expected to flow until 8 p.m. Friday. Businesses and residences near Shaw and Sixth remain closed and Shaw Avenue will remain closed between First and Sixth streets for the foreseeable future.

The incident started after a contractor was digging underground and hit the natural gas line about six feet down around 4 a.m. Friday. Because the pipe is a steel line, the efforts to locate it and repair it are complicated.

"You can't do that with a steel line, you have to reduce pressure in the line as much as you can and then you weld the valve into place. You cut into the line and weld the valve into place and crank it down and shut it," said Denny Boyles, PG&E.

PG&E said the contractor, Atazz Technical Services from Sacramento, did not have a dig tag or follow the proper procedures during their digging which damaged a 6-inch steel pipeline. Atazz is now under investigation and could be billed as much as $30-thousand for repair services by the Fire Department. Authorities say businesses in the area can also bill the contractor for lost business.

The Aetna insurance office on Shaw and 4th is closed. A 9:30 a.m. update of the Aetna Office Closing Line stated that the office will be closed for the day on Friday. Employees should call the "Office Closing Line" at (800) 238-6257 for more information.

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Tags:
fresno northwest, fresno, fresno county, gas line, local
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