SAN DIEGO -- Crews worked through the night to finally cap a natural gas leak in the Mission Beach area Thursday morning, with road closures remaining in place but residents returning home after evacuating Wednesday afternoon.
San Diego Gas & Electric announced Thursday morning that they had stopped the leak around 1:30 a.m. The utility said the next step was to clear residual gas that was lingering in the damaged line, adding that they hoped to go door-to-door re-lighting pilot lights for residents Thursday morning.
About 160 people remained without gas service as of 7 a.m.
Around that time, the utility said evacuations had been lifted and residents were beginning to return home, but SDG&E added that the fire department made final safety decisions and that people should check with authorities at the scene.
The leak, which SDG&E said was caused by a 3/4-inch gas main break, was reported along Strandway near Yarmouth Court around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“Construction crews were working in a trench and dislodged some material that caused it to fall down on a natural gas pipe and either sheared off a connection or punctured a hole in the pipe itself," said Battalion Chief Craig Newell with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
Evacuations and road closures were put in place through most of the day and all evening as about 100 utility workers made repairs and tried to restore service. Authorities shut down southbound Mission Boulevard from Pacific Beach Drive to traffic as crews worked to fix the leak.
About 60 people were affected by the evacuation orders, according to SDFD.
The American Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuees at the Pacific Beach Recreation Center. San Diego Humane Society's emergency response team was there to help with affected pets.
SDG&E turned off the power to 374 customers in the area around 4:20 p.m. as crews continued to work on repairs. Power was back on by Thursday morning, and natural gas service was restored to the Mission Beach area by Thursday afternoon.
No injuries were reported in connection with the leak.