Gas leak forces brief evacuation |

Gas leak forces brief evacuation

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times
The Aspen Times | The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” A gas leak forced the evacuation of 15 Aspen homes Tuesday morning, but the gas was shut off without further incident.

A contractor doing excavation work struck a two-inch diameter natural-gas line near Gibson Avenue at about 9:10 a.m., according to authorities. The contractor notified Source Gas, the area gas utility, instead of dialing 911, said Orrin Moon, deputy chief of the Aspen Fire Protection District.

A neighbor smelled the leaking gas and called 911; some 15 firefighters arrived on scene and cordoned off the area, Moon said.

“We heard the hiss and our next door neighbor called us and told us to evacuate,” said Hetta Heath, who owns a home in the area.

Fire officials alerted residents of Gibson Avenue between Neal and Mill via a reverse-911 call warning them to evacuate, Moon said.

“I would say maybe ten people were in the houses,” Moon said.

Source Gas officials stopped the leak by 10 a.m.

Moon said pure natural gas near the source of the leak was far too rich to ignite, but when the gas rises and mixes with oxygen it can explode.

“It’s not very common, but the potential is there,” Moon said.

Charles Agar’s e-mail address is

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