SEATTLE – Firefighters responded to the 10300 Block of Midvale Ave. N. just after 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 11 for a natural gas leak. When crews arrived on scene, they discovered a 2-inch gas line had been punctured by contractors who were digging in the area.
Firefighters immediately notified Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and begun evacuating residents in the impacted area. A total of three blocks were evacuated, which included a small apartment building, a few town homes and several residential homes. Approximately 20 people were evacuated and taken to a safe location away from the leak. An AlertSeattle message was sent to the neighborhood to notify residents of the situation.
When PSE arrived on scene, they put a plan in place to secure the leak. While PSE workers were in the ditch putting a clamp on the gas line, a fire ignited from an unknown ignition source. Three PSE workers sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene by Seattle Fire paramedics and transported to Harborview Medical Center.
When natural gas catches fire, the safest way to mitigate the hazard is to let the natural gas burn off. Firefighters laid hose lines in each direction, and sprayed water on nearby vehicles and structures to protect them from catching fire.
As the fire was burning, PSE worked to shut off natural gas to that area, by digging a hole to clamp the line south from the location, and turning a valve off north of the location. Once the leak was secured, the fire went out, and the air was monitored to ensure it was safe for residents to reoccupy their homes.