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Tower of flames from ruptured gas line triggers home evacuations in Woodland Hills

Tower of flames from ruptured gas line triggers home evacuations in Woodland Hills
Firefighters tackle flames from gas line blaze in Woodland Hills. (KTLA)

A blaze erupted Wednesday after a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crew struck a gas line in a Woodland Hills neighborhood, triggering evacuations of nearby homes, authorities said.

Flames and smoke rose into the sky just before 1:15 p.m. when the 4-inch main was hit in the 5800 block of North Shoup Avenue, according to Margaret Stewart, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles city Fire Department.

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Raging flames quickly spread to a backhoe and nearby trees. No injuries were reported. Firefighters monitored the flames, which sent embers toward neighboring homes.

The tower of flames threatened several buildings in the area, the LAFD said. TV footage showed firefighters using long hose lines to douse the fire.

Southern California Gas Co. crews responded to the scene Wednesday afternoon and worked to control the gas leak, officials said.

The blaze was extinguished about 4 p.m. and the gas supply was shut off, according to a statement from the DWP.

The fire erupted when a DWP crew struck the natural gas main while digging in the area. The line and backhoe both ignited, SoCal Gas said.

At the time, the crew was installing an 8-inch line that delivers water to a hydrant for firefighting.

In a statement, the agency said that the incident was under investigation, and that protocol requires utility lines to be marked before DWP construction work begins.

The gas leak prompted the Los Angeles Police Department to issue an alert to those living nearby. Calling the leak "a dangerous situation," police asked residents to stay clear of the area.

The department asked the "lookie loos" that gawked at the fire to stay away, according to a statement.

Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

4:50 p.m.: This article was updated with information from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

3:15 p.m.: This article was updated with information from the Los Angeles Police Department.

This article was originally published at 2 p.m.

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