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Gas leak forces evacuations in Old Town

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SAN DIEGO — A construction accident caused a long-term gas leak in Old Town Thursday afternoon, forcing some residents to find overnight lodging elsewhere and leaving visitors to the popular tourist and shopping enclave with fewer places to park.

The mishap occurred shortly before 2 p.m., when a backhoe ruptured a 3/4-inch-diameter pipeline while digging into the roadway at Juan and Twiggs streets, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Lee Swanson said.

Utility personnel estimated that it would take at least until midnight to cap off the broken gas line, Swanson said.

Emergency crews decided that, as precautions, two nearby homes would have to remain unoccupied and a pair of parking lots off-limits to the public pending repairs. No businesses had to close or suspend operations, Swanson said, and there were no reported injuries.

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