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Traffic shut down for 11 hours, dentist office evacuated after a natural gas line is damaged in Palm Springs

Update 8:15 p.m.

After a nearly 11-hour closure, Sunrise & E Ramon is back open.

Crews worked for hours to safely stop the flow of natural gas in order to make permanent repairs.

We spoke with nearby businesses who were who impacted by the gas leak.

“Definitely concerns me. And I'm concerned for all the stores around here because it does, you can smell how strong the chemicals are in the air. And I'm concerned for the safety of the citizens who are still working,” said Amor Talond, a barista for Fresh Juice Bar.

Some surrounding businesses were worried about their safety when they first heard about the leak. “I feel like they should evacuate all the buildings right here because we are literally right next to the street that they have shut down," Talond added, "And as soon as you walk out and in some of the stores they we've communicated that it really does not smell safe. It smells like there's chemicals and it really is bothering a lot of people.”

Several shops and restaurants were forced to close their doors for the day.

“Nobody was coming in, because they blocked off the entire parking lot. And all the streets are blocked off. So really, we had no foot traffic,” said owner of Aspen Mills Bakery Marty Webster.

For the Aspen Mills Bakery on Sunrise Way, the parking lot was closed for a period of time slowing down business. “You know, probably less than for sure, less less than half of what we would normally do," Webster added.

At first, the bakery thought they couldn’t take any more orders for the day. But, they were able to find a solution and work around the closures. “Take their orders and get them to pay over the phone. And we started running across the street and meet them at the pharmacy. So we did a whole bunch of orders that way where they would call get their order and run across the street. And that worked out well. They were happy we were able to save some of the business.”

Original Report 11:05 a.m.

Police are asking you to avoid the area around Sunrise and East Ramon Roads after the break of a "large natural gas line."

The Palm Springs Fire Department and Police Department responded to a damaged natural gas line in the area.

Liz Castillo, a SoCalGas spokesperson, said a 6-inch medium pressure plastic main was hit by a back-hoe during construction on the sidewalk from a third-party contractor. The contractor was not affiliated with, engaged by, or performing work for SoCalGas.

The incident led to the evacuation of 12 people from a Western Dental business on Sunrise Way

All traffic is shut down and the PSFD and PSPD are asking residents to stay out of the area as they work with SoCal Gas to safely stop the flow of natural gas in order to make permanent repairs.

Castillo siad residents and businesses in the area may smell a natural gas odor while SoCalGas crews continue to perform the work needed to repair the gas line.

At this time, there is no word on when the roadway might be open. Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates.

SoCalGas reminds residents and business owners to call 8-1-1 before planning to dig in a garden or at a construction site. Calling 811 will avoid possible injury or damage to buried utility lines.

If a customer suspects a gas leak, we encourage that customer to safely evacuate the area before calling SoCalGas at 800-427-2200 or before dialing 911.

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Tatum Larsen


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