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Fire out, gas shut after backhoe strikes gas main in Woodland HIlls

A gas main fire broke out in Woodland Hills Wednesday, setting a backhoe and nearby trees aflame.
A gas main fire broke out in Woodland Hills Wednesday, setting a backhoe and nearby trees aflame.

A fire that broke out after a backhoe struck a gas main Wednesday in Woodland Hills has been extinguished, according to LADWP officials. 

The agency said in a statement that one of its crews was on site installing service to an adjacent property when the gas main was struck. 

The statement continues: 

All scheduled, non-emergency, underground construction by LADWP crews is approved in advance and occurs only after utility lines are marked by the utility owner, or its contracted entity. At this time, the incident is under investigation to determine why the gas line was struck.

There had been four homes with six people voluntarily evacuated, but those evacuations have now all been lifted, the Los Angeles Fire Department's Margaret Stewart tells KPCC.

Update 2:28 p.m.: Evacuations ordered for homes near Woodland Hills gas main fire

A fire broke out in Woodland Hills Wednesday after a backhoe struck a gas main, prompting evacuations as firefighters battled the blaze.

The gas main fire broke out at 5858 Shoup Avenue, setting the backhoe and nearby trees aflame. 

The fire department was unable to provide numbers for how many homes had been evacuated, but there are exposed buildings on three sides of the fire, according to Margaret Stewart, public information officer for the L.A. Fire Department. Homes at least a block to the west of the break were being evacuated, according to the Associated Press.

The gas main fire broke out at 5858 Shoup Avenue.
The gas main fire broke out at 5858 Shoup Avenue.
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No injuries had been reported as of 2:15 p.m. Wednesday. More than 75 firefighters were on the scene,  Stewart said.

Crews were working to keep the fire from spreading to adjacent trees while waiting for SoCal Gas to shut down the gas line, but a nearby pine tree ended up shooting embers into the residential neighborhoods to the west, a public information officer on the scene told the L.A. Daily News. Still, firefighters were able to protect the structures.

“We can’t extinguish this fire until the gas line is shut down,” Stewart said.

The gas company was on the scene, according to the PIO who spoke with the Daily News. He estimated that it would be two to three hours before the leak and the fire were extinguished.

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This story has been updated.