Car hits gas line, transformer by Scottsdale restaurant

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Gibby Parra

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 8 at 2:52 PM

Map: 90th St. & Via Linda

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- An early morning single-car crash took out a gas line and a transformer near a Scottsdale restaurant Monday.

APS and Southwest Gas were working with the Scottsdale Fire Department to get the situation at 90th Street and Via Linda under control.

According to 3TV's Gibby Parra, the gas was audibly hissing as it leaked from the ruptured pipe and could be heard from about two blocks away. He said that and the intense smell prompted emergency workers to widen the perimeter around the wreck.

Emergency crews on the scene said a man apparently lost control of his Lincoln Town Car and ran off the road at about 4:30 a.m. The large gas meter the car hit is on the side of the Tutti Santi Italian restaurant.

In addition to the gas leak, there are live wires under the car, as well.

By 7 a.m., Southwest Gas had dug a hole across the street and crimped a line to shut off the gas, explained Capt. Dave Folio of the Scottsdale Fire Department. Once the power to the transformer box was off, haz-mat crews went in and put a plug in the ruptured pipe.

Under normal circumstances, a gas leak can be capped off relatively quickly. With this morning's incident, however, there were other dangerous factors.

"This had the whole different dynamic of having the energized lines from the vault from the transformer that had been pushed about 30 feet to the north, and the live wires touching the vehicle," Folio said. "We didn't want to send anybody in with the chance of it sparking."

An additional concern was that the leaking gas was moving up into the structure.

"We had high readings in there," Folio said.

No information about the driver was immediately available, but police said he was not injured in the crash.

Crews were finally able to re-open all lanes in the area shortly after 1 p.m.

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