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Gas leak forces evacuations in S.L. County

A leak in a residential gas service line forced the evacuation of 12 Cottonwood homes for about five hours Tuesday afternoon while work crews dug up the streets to try to locate the leak.

Two Questar workers discovered leaking gas about 1:30 p.m. while making routine checks of gas levels in the neighborhood near 3110 East and 8065 South, said Salt Lake County Fire Capt. Bill Brass.Explosive gas levels were discovered at a home on the southwest corner of Danish Road and Creek Road, which led workers to begin evacuating the 12 surrounding homes. Gas fumes spread about 200 yards in each direction from the intersection and into nearby storm drains and sewer lines, fire department officials said.

Work crews dug up the streets but never found the actual place where the line was leaking, said Questar spokesman Steve Chapman. What they did find, however, was a 4-inch residential service line that wasn't holding its gas pressure. Crews determined the leak was somewhere on that line. The line was capped and replaced late Tuesday night.

Questar put up the owners of the home on the corner of Danish and Creek roads in a hotel room overnight. The family was expected to be back in the home Wednesday morning.

Vicki Gunnerson's family got back into their home just after 7 p.m. Tuesday. Questar crews went through the house to check the gas level before letting them in, she said.

Gunnerson had just started mixing cookie batter Tuesday at about 1:30 p.m. when a Questar worker pounded on her door and told her to evacuate.

"He said, `Don't turn off your TV, don't get your car, just grab your coat and anybody else in there and get out,' " Gunnerson said. "So I grabbed the baby I was tending and locked the door. I just realized, though, that I left my oven on."

Gunnerson spent the afternoon at a neighbor's home up the street. The Red Cross set up an emergency center for evacuees at an LDS Church chapel three blocks west of the neighborhood, but it went largely unused. It did serve as an in-formation center for families, said Red Cross spokesman Tom Eatchel. About 40 people used the center, he said.