Damaged gas line in Layton causes evacuations
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Several businesses and residences in Layton were evacuated Tuesday morning after a construction crew accidentally damaged a natural gas line while digging a hole on University Parkway Boulevard.

Questar Gas shut off the gas and pinched the line at three spots to keep gas from escaping before moving in to repair it. Questar spokesman Darren Shepherd said crews had to pinch the line at both sides of the damaged portion and dig a hole in a third spot to keep gas from feeding into an intersecting line as well.

In the meantime, six businesses in two nearby buildings and residents of two duplexes — all of which received natural gas from the damaged line — were evacuated while crews began repairs.

Shepherd said the call regarding the damaged line came in at about 8 a.m. Tuesday and the last of the remaining gas in the line dissipated just before 11 a.m., allowing crews to start repairing the line.

By 3:30 p.m., Questar had finished the repairs, filled in the holes and lifted the evacuation.

Shepherd said such incidents are a reminder that anyone about to dig should call 811 first so crews can determine whetherthey may be digging near a gas line.

Questar also responded briefly to a report of a natural gas smell coming from the cafeteria of Washington Elementary School, which caused a brief evacuationof the school at about 9 a.m. Tuesday. Questar reported the smell was coming from a dishwasher in the school's kitchen and was not caused by any kind of gas leak.

Firefighters who responded found the building was safe and let students back in shortly after the evacuation, according to Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Jasen Asay.

kbennion@sltrib.com