Apartments evacuated after fallen pine ruptures gas line

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ENCINITAS, Calif. – Firefighters evacuated dozens of people from a North County apartment complex Friday after a fallen tree ruptured a gas line.

The big pine, estimated to be about 100 years old, came down in the Pacific Pines complex in the 1700 block of El Camino Real in Encinitas. It hit the roof of one apartment unit with a glancing blow and cracked open the natural gas line that feeds the hot water system for the entire complex..

Crews from the Encinitas Fire Department evacuated 20 to 30 people from units that were downwind of the broken gas line until utility crews from San Diego Gas & Electric were able to turn off the gas shortly before 6 p.m.

Most residents were allowed to return to their apartments, but about several apartments were badly damaged. Officials were not letting the residents of those units return until they could assess the extent of the damage.