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Broken pipe bursts into fire in Kearns

A fountain of flames erupted from a broken natural gas pipe, causing the evacuation of 10 houses and the temporary closure of a major thoroughfare Monday.

About 10:45 a.m., work crews installing utility pipes at 4380 W. 5415 South accidentally struck a 3/4-inch gas service line, said Salt Lake County Fire Capt. Bill Brass. A spark apparently ignited the gas and 8-foot flames erupted from the leak.None of the workers were injured by the flames, and fire-fighters from a station a block away responded to the scene. Ten surrounding houses were evacuated. Gas to two homes was shut off.

Police also closed off 5400 South between 4000 West and 4400 West and traffic was diverted to surrounding streets.

"It was a traffic nightmare for a while," Brass said.

Meanwhile, gas fumes burned off safely until Mountain Fuel crews arrived and shut off the leaking pipe within about 30 minutes, Brass said.

"We had our units in place in case of an explosion," Brass said.