Businesses Evacuated After Tanks Ruptured

Authorities in Lancaster evacuated a four-block area of commercial and industrial buildings Tuesday after construction workers ruptured two underground liquid storage tanks thought to contain gasoline, county fire officials said.

Businesses near Avenue J and the Sierra Highway were evacuated at 12:30 p.m. when workers installing city street lights hit the tanks, said Howard Spinrad, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

About 20 businesses were evacuated, Sheriff’s Lt. Dan Ridder said. It was not known how many people were evacuated.

Officials said they believe that the liquid in the tanks is gasoline, but they were unsure because of the age of the tanks.


The 350- to 450-gallon receptacles were buried 10 feet underground and may have been left behind by the operators of a gas station, authorities said.

“It may have been a gas station in operation years and years ago, and nobody knew they were there,” Spinrad said of the tanks. The tanks were believed to be 40 to 50 years old.

Evacuated workers were allowed to return about 5 p.m.

Authorities were investigating the incident.