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UPDATED: Truck Runs into Natural Gas Well, Causes 'Hissing' Leak in Playa Del Rey

Vandalism is suspected. The FBI is lending an investigative hand.

A Southern California Gas Company truck struck a natural gas storage well, causing a leak.
A Southern California Gas Company truck struck a natural gas storage well, causing a leak.

Originally posted at 9:53 a.m. Feb. 17, 2014. Updated to add more information. 

Vandals may have driven a commercial truck into pipes at a natural gas storage facility in Playa Del Rey early today, causing a loud hissing noise and a release of gas that had to be shut off, a gas company spokeswoman said.

It began at 12:30 a.m. at the storage facility in the 7800 block of Veragua Drive, in the open fields east of Playa del Rey. The Southern California Gas Company maintains a large underground natural gas storage facility there.

A bomb squad was brought in to determine if any other wells were tampered with, while gas to the affected well remains shut off, said Officer Wendy Reyes of the Los Angeles Police Department.

When truck was driven onto the storage well, it damaged a structure above ground, causing gas to escape, said Southern California Gas spokeswoman Trisha Muse.

The hissing sound “was alarming for residents in the area,” she said.

There were no injuries and the gas was turned off, rendering the area safe at
3:50 a.m. Evacuations were not necessary.

Los Angeles police were investigating the incident with assistance from the FBI.

“As a precaution, the Bureau routinely responds to potential threats to facilities that would be considered critical to infrastructure,” said the FBI's Laura Eimiller.

Authorities initially said they believed the vehicle belonged to the gas company, but it's actually owned by a contractor, gas company spokesperson Angela Fentiman said.

It's not clear if it already was at the storage facility before it ended up on the gas well, Reyes said.

The vehicle was found running with a door open, police said.

--City News Service

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