Residents asked to shelter in place briefly after North Berkeley gas leak

More than 300 homes had their gas service interrupted Tuesday morning after a construction crew struck and ruptured a 4-inch gas distribution line near the North Berkeley BART station.

Berkeley Fire received a report of a gas leak at 10:45 a.m. at Virginia Street and Sacramento Street. It took PG&E until 12:20 p.m. to get to the scene and control the leak. Residents were advised to shelter in place during the incident, and PG&E representatives went door-to-door shutting off gas valves. Berkeley Police closed roads in the area.

Repairs were completed on the damaged gas line by around 9:30 p.m., and PG&E representatives then went door-to-door restoring service and asking for permission to reignite pilot lights. A PG&E spokesperson said 40 representatives were dispatched to the scene from across the East Bay, and they were able to restore service to all but 50 homes on Tuesday, with reps standing by throughout the night.

Lea Delson, who lives in the area, said PG&E workers told her the leak was caused by a contractor digging a hole to install a new street light. The city directed questions about the cause of the gas line rupture to PG&E. A PG&E spokesperson said “a third party contractor” had breached the line and the circumstances of the incident are under investigation.

An AC Alert was not sent out because the gas leak was controlled swiftly and no evacuations were necessary, Assistant Fire Chief Keith May wrote in an email. The BART station was not affected by the leak, officials said.

This story was updated with new information on May 27.