Kensington gas pipe leak was a potential fire disaster

Residents in the small East Bay town of Kensington received a scare on Tuesday morning when they were issued an emergency alert instructing them to shelter-in-place.

The order was issued due to a gas main break and subsequent leak that occurred.

"Go inside and close all windows and doors. Stay off the phone and do not call 911 unless you need to report a life-threatening emergency," the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office said in its initial community alert.

According to authorities, the rupture took place at approximately 9:18 a.m. in the area of Cambridge Avenue and Yale Avenue, near Summit Reservoir. A crew from East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) was conducting pipe replacements in the area when they accidentally struck a 3-inch PG&E natural gas distribution line.

The incident resulted in the release of a foul odor throughout the neighborhood.

Police and firefighters quickly responded to the scene quickly, with PG&E repair crews arriving shortly thereafter. It took over two hours for PG&E to successfully halt the flow of gas through the line by employing special clamps to crimp the plastic pipe.

"In this case, we're investigating what occurred. We'll do a postmortem, and we'll see what's going on," said EBMUD spokesman Andrea Pook.