Gas Line Break Forces Evacuation In Downtown Burien

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3pm 2/3/09 UPDATE: We may have uncovered the cause of Tuesday morning’s gas line break in downtown Burien, and it could result in triple cost damage charges against the company involved in the accident.

Apparently one of the subcontractors was digging a trench across the high pressure service between the gas shut off valve and gas meter or what Puget Sound Energy refers to as a curb valve.

The subcontractor of construction was given permission by the superintendent of the construction, whom was in a safety meeting and thought he didn’t need to get permission from PSE prior to the dig; according to an anonymous member of the crew on the scene.

The law allows recourse for a service break caused by third party damage to PSE utility equipment, such as this one, to triple of the cost of repair and charge the company involved in the excavation.

Residents and companies interested in digging twelve inches or deeper must call 811 two business days prior to their project to have the underground services marked free of charge.

Approximately 50 customers from local stores and construction workers in the new city hall we evacuate as a precaution. There were no injuries.

A gas line broke Tuesday morning around 11am on 4th Ave SW between SW 150th and SW 152nd in downtown Burien, forcing the evacuation of The Dollar Tree Store and Grocery Outlet, both located across the street.

The leak happened outside the garage entrance behind the new city hall construction area, and crews from Puget Sound Energy and Pilchuck Construction repaired the leak shortly before Noon.

No injuries were reported, and when we came on scene around 12:35pm everything had been repaired.

A workman from Puget Sound Energy refused to speak to us though, but another construction worker said “be sure to mention that Pilchuck capped the leak.” We are not yet sure what caused the break.

Here’s a Google Street View of the location (note that this image was taken before the new city hall building had taken shape):

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