A natural gas leak in Playa del Rey on Monday was caused by a contractor's truck that drove over a well's protective cover, damaging a small valve, a spokeswoman for Southern California Gas Co. said.

The incident occurred around 1 a.m., with the release of pressure causing a “loud screeching noise,” said Angela Fentiman, a spokeswoman for the utility.

The truck was discovered with its engine running on top of the valve, she added, but the driver was not located. It was not immediately clear if the truck had driven onto the gas storage facility in the 8100 block of Gulana Avenue, or if it had been inside the campus prior to striking the valve.

Los Angeles fire and police personnel responded to the scene, and the flow of gas was shut off just before 4 a.m., Fentiman said.  

“Natural gas is ... lighter than air, so it dissipates, so there’s no danger to the community,” she said. “The situation is safe.”

Los Angeles Police Officer Wendy Reyes said a bomb squad was sent to the scene early Monday but had since returned. She said it did not appear as though any other wells had been tampered with, adding that there were no injuries or evacuations.

Investigators remained on scene Monday morning trying to determine if the incident was an accident or a case of vandalism, Fentiman said. Reyes said LAPD was not actively searching for a suspect, but stressed that the case is still under investigation. 

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