Gas fire from accident in sewer excavation

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A mistake made during a sewer excavation resulted in a natural gas line rupturing and catching on fire Tuesday afternoon at a home on the 1700 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., a worker for the homeowner accidentally struck a half-inch service line during some sewage work, according to PG&E spokesperson Jason King. The Berkeley Fire Department was then notified of the incident and dispatched to the scene.

“A homeowner on Martin Luther King Way hired a day laborer to perform some sewer work for them, and they didn’t call 811 prior to digging,” King said. “We received a call around 3:15 p.m. about the incident and we had a crew on scene around 3:30 p.m.”

Representatives from PG&E were able to shut off the flow of gas to the pipe within 20 minutes of arriving on scene, and firefighters were able to contain the fire by 3:50 p.m.

“Firefighters kept the side doused with water to keep the rest of the house from catching on fire,” King said.

While there was no overall structural damage to the home, there was some minor damage to its exterior as a result of the fire, according to King.

Andy Nguyen is the lead crime reporter. Contact him at [email protected]
and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Truc.