Hundreds evacuated in San Jose after PG&E gas line rupture

Pacific Gas & Electric said an 8-inch steel natural gas line ruptured Wednesday afternoon in San Jose, prompting evacuations associated with as many as 325 addresses in a mixed commercial, residential area. 

The San Jose Fire Department first alerted the public on Twitter at 3:49 p.m. The leak is located at Race Street and Eugene Avenue. Evacuations are in place for a 900-foot radius, officials said. 

The leak was capped about midnight and officials had hoped to move people back into their homes by 8 a.m., but the deadline keeps getting pushed back. It was moved to noon and then early evening on Thursday as the fix was more complicated that crews originally thought, officials said. 

The Bascom Community Center, located at 1000 S. Bascom Avenue, is open to anyone impacted who is in need of shelter. Red Cross of Northern California and San Jose Parks and Recreation department are assisting evacuees. 

Officials were allowing residents to return home to retrieve their pets with San Jose police providing escorts. That lasted for about two hours before PG&E determined it was no longer safe to escort residents back to their homes. 

A utility spokesperson said they were notified by a third-party contractor just before 10 a.m. that the gas line was struck by equipment.  PG&E crews were immediately dispatched to Race Street and Park Avenue in an attempt to stop the flow of gas. 

"Multiple crews are on-site digging at several locations to vent the natural gas into the atmosphere to support safety in the area," a PG&E spokesperson said. "It appears the third-party contractor was not hand-digging in the marked area around the pipe that was struck, which is the required step when digging within two feet of marked underground utility lines."

The utility said the investigation of the rupture is ongoing.