Venice residents back home after ruptured gas line prompted evacuations

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Approximately 50 homes were under a precautionary evacuation in a Venice neighborhood on Monday due to a possibly tampered gas line in the area, officials said. (KABC)

Residents in one Venice neighborhood were making their way back home Monday night, after more than 50 homes were evacuated due to a ruptured gas line.

Someone reported a natural gas leak in the 2000 block of S. Walgrove Avenue at about 1:30 p.m. Shortly after, the fire department called police when they found several suspicious cylindrical items on the property.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

AIR7 HD captured the bomb squad from above and Southern California Gas Company crews working to repair the gas line.

An evacuation center was opened at Penmar Recreation Center for the 50 homes that were temporarily evacuated.

"A policeman came and knocked on my door and said, 'Sorry, you have to evacuate.' I said, 'What?' I've been here more than 40 years on Walgrove and have had nothing like this," said resident Natividad Flores.

LAPD officials initially said they were looking into whether a soon-to-be former tenant tampered with the line but later said they were no longer investigating the incident as a criminal act.

Officers searched the house and said they found nothing suspicious inside the home or the containers.

"When we talk about the leak, when we talk about a tampered meter, when we talk about items which are suspicious in nature -- cylindrical items. When you add all those items together, that causes this kind of response," explained Detective Meghan Aguilar of the LAPD.

Investigators said they would still like to speak to the soon-to-be former tenant. Meantime, SoCalGas will investigate the cause of the leak and determine whether it was suspicious.

By 7:30 p.m., SoCalGas secured the gas leak and work continued through the night to ensure the area was safe.

Neighborhood residents were allowed back into their homes, but about 58 homes in the area of Glencoe and Walgrove avenues remained without gas. SoCalGas crews were expected to turn the gas back on at approximately 8 a.m. Tuesday, fire officials said.
Related Topics:
gas leakinvestigationhazmatevacuationVeniceLos Angeles
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