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Gas leak forces closure of San Diego Zoo, other Balboa Park attractions

 

Last updated 8/22/2019 at 12:40pm



SAN DIEGO - A natural gas leak forced closures of the San Diego Zoo and several other Balboa Park attractions on Thursday, Aug. 22 and prompted road closures in the busy tourist district.

The hazardous fumes began wafting through the landmark city park north of downtown San Diego about 8 a.m., when a construction worker accidentally broke a 4-inch-diameter utility line in the 2900 block of Zoo Drive, fire department spokeswoman Monica Munoz said.

Authorities closed the main entrance to the zoo and its parking lot as a public-safety precaution. Police, meanwhile, shut down traffic lanes around the site of the leak.

No animals were taken out of the zoo, which had not yet opened to the public, but employees were evacuated from the Wegeforth Bowl, Dickinson Center, gift shops, Reptile House, Tiger River and Treetops and the Benchley Building.

Zoo officials soon decided to keep the work-renowned menagerie closed for the day.

The nearby San Diego Natural History Museum and Spanish Village also were evacuated and closed until further notice, according to park officials.

About 10:45 a.m., repair crews halted the leak, SDG&E spokeswoman Sara Prince said. It was unclear when natural gas service would be restored to the area.

"We're assessing the damage, and then we'll repair it,'' Prince said in the late morning.

 

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