Neighborhood evacuated after homeowner strikes gas line

Staff photo by E.J. Harris Residents from evacuated homes on Southwest 9th Place stand on the corner as firefighters check for natural gas Thursday in Hermiston. A resident hit a natural gas line while digging in his yard.

The neighborhood of Southwest Ninth Place and Duane Avenue in Hermiston was evacuated Thursday afternoon for a ruptured a gas line.

Troy Stolz, who lives on Ninth Place, said he was using a shovel to dig up a leaky water line when he struck a natural gas line instead.

“Just one stab of the shovel and out it came,” he said. Stolz said he wasn’t sure who to call so he called the non-emergency line for Hermiston Police Department and they took it from there. The department and Umatilla County Fire District 1 responded shortly before 1 p.m. to assist in blocking off the neighborhood, evacuating residents and securing the area before Cascade Natural Gas employees arrived to fix the line.

Homeowners are supposed to call 811 before they do excavation work in order to find out where utility lines are placed. Stolz said he hadn’t thought to call about such a small project, but now he was embarrassed by “all this attention.”

For more information about avoiding underground natural gas, electrical and water lines, visit www.call811.com.

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