SALT LAKE CITY — More than 150 units from five apartment complexes in Salt Lake’s Avenues neighborhood were evacuated for several hours Tuesday due to a natural gas leak.
Officials were investigating what caused the gas line break between A Street and 136 East about 7 a.m. Dominion Energy workers repaired the gas line by about 3 p.m., according to the Salt Lake City Public Utilities. Water was expected to go back on later in the afternoon.
It was originally reported the gas line break was caused by a private contractor. But Salt Lake City Public Utilities officials later clarified no contractor was on site at the time of the break and the cause was not immediately known.
Residents were allowed to return to their homes about 4 p.m., the Salt Lake City Fire Department announced.
While crews were repairing the gas line, about 40 gas meters associated with the five apartment complexes that were evacuated were also shut down, according to fire officials.
Road repairs were expected to continue late into the evening, officials said.
Utah Transit Authority used its buses to transport evacuees who needed a place to stay to the Sorenson Multicultural Center where they were able to remain until it was safe to return home. The Red Cross also deployed to the scene of the gas leak to set up a temporary evacuation center while the residents remained displaced.
The spokeswoman for @DomEnergyUtah says a construction contractor hit a gas line. Could take several hours #KSLTVpic.twitter.com/dGOTMbxjzq
— Derek Petersen (@Derek_Photog) March 19, 2019
The evacuation area ran from First Avenue to South Temple, and about half of A Street. A nearby Montessori school was determined to be in a safe area and was not evacuated.
Further down the street, near State Street, Salt Lake City water crews were dealing at the same time with a broken water main. Fire officials said the water main break was not affecting their operation with the gas leak, and it was not immediately known if the two incidents were related.
Once the gas was shut off, hazmat crews did a sweep of the apartment complexes to make sure the levels of natural gas were safe before allowing residents to return.