Gas leak keeps residents out of their homes

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GILBERT, Ariz. -- Some families are still waiting to return to their homes after they were evacuated Sunday for a natural gas leak.

The leak is in a neighborhood near Val Vista Drive and Warner Road.

Crews from the Gilbert Fire Department and from Southwest Gas have been working on the situation.

Approximately two dozen homes were evacuated on Sunday and six homes remained evacuated as of Tuesday evening.

"There's still six homes that we are still continuing our work until those gas reads are at a zero and the environment is as safe as can be we're going to keep those folks out of their homes and hopefully they'll be able to return soon," said Amy Washburn with Southwest Gas.

"It's a little bit of an inconvenience," resident Jason Tennent said Monday. "I mean I didn't get to go to work today but you know you got to do what you got to do. I'd rather be safe than sorry."

"I'm just worried like we're going to lose all our food and stuff because there's no electricity," said another resident.

Crews continued to vent and probe the ground trying to figure out what caused the leak.

"The pipe that was damaged was a 2-inch gas line that runs down the street in this community," said Washburn.

Most of the homes are not hooked up to the gas line but the homes are still vulnerable to leaks from the underground line.

"Kind of upset that we weren't aware that the line was even there at all," said homeowner Lisa Chase. "We were kind of like homeless for a day." 

It all started Sunday when a resident lit a cigarette in his garage, which triggered an explosion and sent the man to the hospital with severe injuries.

"He was screaming and he was like clearly in pain and his left side was red and he was bleeding from one of his eyes," said a witness.

Jason Nelson remains in critical condition at the Arizona Burn Center.

It will be Wednesday at the very soonest before the residents can return to their homes.

Gas line repairs underway in Gilbert; evacuated residents escorted into homes