CASTRO VALLEY -- Some families in a Castro Valley townhome complex got a scare Friday morning when utility crews accidentally ruptured a small gas line.
The incident occurred shortly before 9 a.m. at 20228 San Miguel Ave., said Charles Hardy, spokesman for the East Bay Municipal Utility District. A backhoe being used to help replace old water pipes struck a half-inch gas line, he said.
A county fire station is located on the same block and EBMUD crews walked over to ask firefighters for help with the leak. PG&E was called to respond as well, Hardy said. Firefighters had already heard the gas line break, which made a light, whooshing whistle, a fire official said.
The line was small enough that the leak did not pose severe danger, but firefighters helped evacuate between six and eight nearby townhomes as a precaution, Hardy said. Brent Rudman was among the residents affected and who said he got a knock at the door about 9 a.m. and was alarmed the moment he answered it.
"We couldn't smell any gas inside, but when we opened the door, you could smell it for sure," he said in a phone interview from his Castro Valley office. "If we had a candle lit in our house of something, who knows what could have happened? So we evacuated and now my family's sitting here in my office."
PG&E crews arrived at about 9:30 a.m., and had the gas feed to the pipe closed off about 10 minutes later, spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said.
Crews from EBMUD have been replacing plastic pipes across the county following a 2000 lawsuit settlement over plastic pipes that were deteriorating too fast, Hardy said. The San Miguel Avenue property was getting among the last of tens of thousands of pipe replacements, he said.
Contact Sean Maher at 925-943-8013. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/OneSeanMaher.