Gas Leak Prompts Evacuations, Street Closure in Land Park

LAND PARK-- Firefighters and utility workers filled a busy stretch of Freeport Boulevard Monday afternoon as people nearby watched and smelled the issue.

"I drove in to do my laundry, and I didn't know what was going on down there, and when I came out I could smell the gas," said Michael Brown.

The Sacramento Fire Department says a construction crew at work near 5th Avenue dug into an underground pipe.

Firefighters closed a two block stretch of Freeport Boulevard for hours and forced nearby businesses to evacuate at lunch time as a precaution.

"We don't want people breathing it in large quantities, and obviously the fire and explosion possibility is always there too anytime you have a flammable gas like this," said Sacramento Fire Department Spokesperson Chris Harvey.

"Makes me a little nervous there could be an explosion or something with a gas leak," said Susan Federer, who was trying to get lunch in the area.

Freeport Bakery stayed open but expected the scene outside to affect business.

"It might slow things down a little bit," said Operations Manager Ann Mueller.

This is one of about eight gas leaks in the Sacramento region since mid-July.

"Dig-ins are definitely on the rise in the Sacramento region," said PG&E Spokesperson Lynsey Paulo.

PG&E says last year between January and July they had 124 instances where someone dug into a gas line.

This year there have been 160 over the same time period.

"There could be a couple of reasons for that. One: you certainly notice a lot of new developments and new construction going on in the Sacramento region, so because you have a lot of projects happening there's more opportunity to dig in," Paolo said.

PG&E and Sac Fire urge everyone to call 811 before digging.

PG&E shut off the line shortly after 3 p.m. Monday, but didn't expect it to be fixed until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. People are asked to avoid the area until then.

Stay with FOX40 and FOX40.com for the latest on this developing story.