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January 17, 2022

Updated: Ruptured gas line leads to closure

HOLLISTER

Authorities ordered the intersection of Airline Highway and Sunnyslope Road closed for about two hours Monday after a utility crew ruptured a 2-inch gas line while digging, concerning fire officials that it could ignite.

A Pacific Gas & Electric spokeswoman told the Free Lance today a crew “accidentally nicked the line” while they had been installing a street light.

They repaired it by digging two adjacent holes to isolate the leak and stop the flow of gas, said spokeswoman Jennifer Zerwer.

The Hollister Fire Department responded to the report of a natural gas leak shortly after 2 p.m. and decided to close the intersection while the leak was being repaired to “eliminate ignition sources” from nearby traffic, Fire Chief Fred Cheshire said.

“When flammable gas is discharging into the atmosphere, it appears like it is no big hazard, but if an ignition sources is found … that will burn all the way back to the source,” Cheshire said. It could lead to a “pretty big flame coming out of the ground,” he said.

Zerwer with PG&E said the flow of gas stopped by 5 p.m. and that repairs were done by 7:30 p.m. She also noted that no customers were affected by the leak.

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