Fire, gas leak at unoccupied Lebanon home leads to neighborhood - KPTV - FOX 12

Fire, gas leak at unoccupied Lebanon home leads to neighborhood evacuations

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Photo: Lebanon Fire District Photo: Lebanon Fire District
Photo: Lebanon Fire District Photo: Lebanon Fire District
Photo: Lebanon Fire District Photo: Lebanon Fire District
LEBANON, OR (KPTV) -

A fire and gas leak at an unoccupied Lebanon home led to neighborhood evacuations early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters responded to the 500 block of West Ash Street just before 4 a.m. and found heavy fire coming from the back of a home.

Firefighters reported hearing the sound of a natural gas line venting at high pressure. A gas meter was found engulfed in flames.

Firefighters monitored the gas line and allowed it to burn, saying the situation was not inherently dangerous. The gas line fire eventually went out.

At that point, high-pressure natural gas began to fill the air. The incident commander quickly called all crews away from the scene and began an immediate evacuation of a 300-foot radius around the building.

Buses were called to the scene to provide warmth and shelter.

A NW Natural crew dug their way to the gas supply line, clamped off the supply of gas and secured the leak.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Nobody was in the home at the time and there were no reports of injuries.

The 900-square-foot home is valued at $92,000 and was insured, according to firefighters.

The window of a neighboring home cracked from the radiant heat of the fire.

Crews from Lebanon, Sweet Home, Brownsville, Scio and Albany responded to the scene.

Lebanon Fire District Division Chief Jason Bolen described the reasoning behind allowing the gas line to burn.

"Essentially it's similar to lighting your gas stove at home." he said. "Turn on the gas, light the burner, and the flame consumes the gas being expelled with little negative effects. However, if you turn on the gas but never get the burner lit the gas will pool and disperse throughout the area and potentially find its own ignition source. When that happens, a large explosion is likely."

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