Update: Residents evacuated as major gas leak threatens Salt Lake homes

Crews from Salt Lake City Fire Department and Questar Gas evacuated residents from Emerson Avenue to Bryan Avenue and within a 70-foot radius from 800 East and Roosevelt Avenue on Monday because of a natural gas leak in the area. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Richard Trelles

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 21, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A major natural gas leak is causing problems in Salt Lake City and crews evacuated residents from Emerson Avenue to Bryan Avenue and within a 70-foot radius from 800 East and Roosevelt Avenue.

The public is advised to avoid the area until given the all-clear.

Darren Shepherd, spokesman for Questar Gas, was at the scene.

“We’re constantly leak-surveying our lines,” he said, “so we have trucks and crews that go around regularly monitoring the lines.”

Shepherd said one of Questar’s crews picked up on the odor of gas at the intersection of Roosevelt and 800 East at about 3 p.m. Monday and called it in. It was a small amount, so the company sent out another crew to verify that there was actually a leak, and there was.

“Now we have crews working on that intersection, basically going down one side of 800 East. Our plan, because that’s where the highest concentration of gas is in the ground, is to squeeze down that 1 1/4-inch line that runs along the street and clamp it off there,” Shepherd explained.

“Then we’ll go across 800 East onto Roosevelt and clamp it off there. That should stop the flow of gas from both directions. It’ll isolate the area we believe the leak is occurring in, and we’ll monitor and test to make sure gas levels drop.”

Shepherd said about 30 homes that tie into the line have been evacuated, and the gas has been shut off.

He said it’s hard to know how long the line was leaking, because the gas generally dissipates into the air, and only a small amount was detected by the first crew.

Questar will keep monitoring, and when the gas levels drop off, they may bring in a vacuum truck to clear the area.

Shepherd said each evacuated home will be tagged, and no one will be allowed to enter until everything is cleared.

A man who lives on Roosevelt near 800 East told Gephardt Daily that he was coming home at about 6:45 p.m. and found his street blocked off. He said the police told him he can’t go home and has to evacuate.

“I was worried that something was going on at my house, because the fire trucks are right in front of my house,” he said. “They did let me go get my dog, so that was good. And my family was already out of the house (at various activities).”

He said he will be staying with relatives until it’s OK to go home.

For the evacuees who have nowhere else to stay in the meantime, Questar has set up a meeting area in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building at 1130 S. 900 East, where the displaced residents can show their address and Questar will arrange accommodations for them.

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