Three gas leaks keep Turlock firefighters busy

Dealing with a gas leak is not unusual for firefighters. Handling two during a single shift has to be pretty rare. On Wednesday morning, Turlock firefighters —and Pacific Gas & Electric employees — responded to three gas leaks within two hours.

All three were caused by construction crews hitting gas pipes.

The first leak was reported about 10:30 a.m. in the 3100 block of Hotel Drive. The location is near Monte Vista and Countryside avenues, where construction is underway on new restaurants and businesses.

The leak prompted evacuations of the businesses on the south side of Hotel, including Panera Bread, Red Robin, T-Mobile and AAA, said Turlock Fire Captain Kevin Tidwell.

Authorities closed Hotel Drive, and the state Department of transportation temporarily shut down the offramp form northbound Highway 99 at Monte Vista. Motorists trying to get to Highway 99 were redirected to Fulkerth Road via Countryside Drive.

About an hour later, firefighters responded to a gas leak at a home in the 4000 block of Medeiros Road, less than two miles to the north.

PG&E employees secured the gas line in the first leak about 12:15 p.m., just as the third gas leak was reported. This one occurred when a backhoe hit a gas pipe on North Palm Street, about three miles south east of the original leak. The North Palm site is near the Turlock Irrigaiton District offices, where the Turlock Police Deparment formerly was housed.

All of the gas leaks were stopped and the roads reopened by 1:24 p.m.

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