Rhea Mahbubani

Residents Ordered to Shelter in Place After Driver Ruptures Four-Inch Gas Line at Alameda Pennzoil Plant

A driver was hospitalized Wednesday after he rammed into and ruptured a four-inch high-pressure natural gas line at a Pennzoil plant in Alameda, according to police.

Fire officials said they were dispatched to the intersection of Clement Avenue and Grand Street around 1 a.m. The street is a dead end, but the driver went straight, instead of turning right or left, said Richard Waggener, division chief of the Alameda Fire Department.

"He didn’t hit any building," Waggener said. "He actually crashed through a fence and went right through a parking lot of a business."

The man apparently tried to climb out of his vehicle, but was asked by police to stay in the car "because it was a safe place with the ignition turned off," said Waggener.

A shelter in place was ordered for residents in the area, but has since been lifted, police said. Officials usd automated phone calls to alert residents of the order and urged them to turn off all gas supplied appliances.

A PG&E technician was unable to shut off the gas supply, Waggener said, because the line was damaged on "the supply side of the valve, not on the discharge side."

"Shutting off the valve didn’t prove to stop the flow of gas, so PG&E has decided that the best option now is to bring out a crew who will probably open up the ground and go down inside and pinch the gas off," Waggener said.

When asked if the man was speeding, Waggener declined to speculate. The driver was taken to a hospital, but police did not know the extent of the driver's injuries.

Nearby streets were closed to traffic and an investigation is ongoing, he noted.

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