Natural Gas Leak Forces Closure of San Diego Zoo and Museums

A natural gas leak caused by a construction crew forced closures of the San Diego Zoo and several other Balboa Park attractions Thursday and some roads were closed in the area.

The gas leak was first reported about 8 a.m. when gas fumes began wafting through the area near San Diego's most famous attraction. Officials say the construction crew accidentially broke a 4-inch-diameter utility line in the 2900 block of Zoo Drive.

Authorities quickly closed the main entrance to the San Diego Zoo and its parking lot as a safety precaution. Police shut down traffic lanes around the site of the leak.

No animals were taken out of the zoo, which had not yet opened to the public for the day, but employees were evacuated from the Wegeforth Bowl, Dickinson Center, gift shops, Reptile House, Tiger River and Treetops and the Benchley Building.

Zoo officials soon decided to keep the world-renowned zoo closed for the entire day. A statement from San Diego Zoo Global, the nonprofit that operates the 113-year-old facility said "all animals were safe and secure".

Just south of the Zoo, all buildings along the El Prado -- including the San Diego Museum of Man, Museum of Art and Natural History Museum -- were also closed until further notice, as was Spanish Village, according to park officials. The Air and Space Museum, however, remained open, city spokesman Tim Graham said.

About 10:45 a.m., repair crews halted the leak, SDG&E spokeswoman Sara Prince said. But it was expected to take a few hours before all the repairs on the line were expected to be done and gas service fully restored to the area.

(Photo credit reporting partner 10News)



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