Zoo evacuated, closed after gas main break

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Fire crews ordered evacuations after a gas main break at the entrance of San Diego Zoo.

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SAN DIEGO -- Employees evacuated and the San Diego Zoo closed for the day after a gas main broke during construction work near the park entrance Thursday.

A contractor hit a 4-inch pipe, causing a gas leak on Zoo Drive around 8 a.m., San Diego Fire-Rescue confirmed.

Just south of the zoo, all buildings along El Prado -- including the San Diego Museum of Man, Museum of Art and Natural History Museum -- were closed until further notice, as was Spanish Village, according to park officials. The Air and Space Museum, however, remained open, city spokesman Tim Graham said.

Employees were sheltered away from the leak and the zoo remained closed for the rest of the day, the park said. All animals were "safe and secure," according to the zoo.

Repair crews halted the leak at about 10:45 a.m., SDG&E spokeswoman Sara Prince said. It was unclear when natural gas service would be restored to the area. "We're assessing the damage, and then we'll repair it," Prince said in the late morning.

The contractor had been working on a redesign of the Children's Zoo section of the park.

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