David Bramell, division chief with the Tracy Fire Department, said that crews were using a backhoe in front of restaurant under construction in the shopping center. The initial break sent a plume of natural gas spewing from the trench, he said.
Bramell did not know the name of the construction company that was digging in the parking lot.
About 50 people were evacuated from all seven businesses in the L-shaped wing of the shopping center.
The businesses included Starbucks Coffee, Taqueria La Mexicana, Supercuts, Subway, ChilaBerries Frozen Yogurt, My Kid’s Dentist & Orthodontics and a Wells Fargo bank.
The Raley’s supermarket and another wing of the shopping center on the other side of the parking lot remained open for business because Bramell said there was enough open “air space” from the leak.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews were at the scene working on the leak to stem the flow of gas.
The PG&E crews were digging in the parking lot on either side of the break to reach the gas line and clamp it off.
Bramell said he did not think there would be a disruption of gas service to nearby residents as crews capped off the leak.
Crews were still working to stop the leak as of 1 p.m. but were expecting the leak to be fixed in a few hours.
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