Gas Line Rupture Forces Evacuation

More than 35 people were evacuated from a bank and a nearby shopping center Friday morning when a construction worker accidentally ruptured a natural gas pipeline, fire officials said.

The worker, operating a backhoe at the intersection of East Santa Ana Canyon Road and Imperial Highway, ruptured the two-inch gas pipe about 9:15 a.m., forcing the evacuation at a Bank of America branch and at the Albertson's Shopping Center nearby. No one was injured.

The accident caused an "extreme smell of natural gas in the bank," said an Anaheim Fire Department spokesman.

Twelve firefighters and two fire engines responded to the leak, and a hazardous materials unit stood by as a precaution.

Southern California Gas Co. workers took more than two hours to repair the leak, causing a rerouting of traffic around the intersection.

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