By Brian Park
San Juan Hills High School has reopened after a nearby gas line rupture forced the school to go on lockdown Tuesday afternoon.
The eastbound lanes on La Pata Avenue near Ortega Highway have also reopened.
Traffic around the school and the intersection were temporarily closed, after gas, police and fire officials responded to a break in a natural gas pipeline.
The fracture occurred after a construction crew dug too deep and struck the pipeline, causing an eight-inch fracture. The Orange County Fire Authority was notified of the situation around 1:40 p.m., according to Fire Cpt. Marc Stone.
Officials from San Diego Gas & Electric, California Highway Patrol, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and fire officials reported to the scene to coordinate repairs and administer traffic control, according to a release from the city of San Juan Capistrano.
Gas crews arrived to stop flow to the ruptured area, said Lt. Roland Chacon of the Sheriff’s Department.
According to San Diego Gas & Electric, the pipeline in question is operated by fellow Sempra Energy utility company, Southern California Gas Company.
“The gas is now under control. Our crews are repairing the fracture to the line,” Southern California Gas Company spokesperson Angela Fentiman said. “They were able to locate a valve and they did a coordinated shutdown.”
The shutdown has left the high school and 16 homes without service, according to Fentiman, who added that gas crews will remain on-site to repair the damage.
Fentiman also added that this situation should serve as a reminder for people to dial 8-1-1 before beginning any construction dig to make sure no underground utilities are in jeopardy.