Water main break, gas line fracture cause Bellevue evacuations

by: Natasha Chen Updated:

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BELLEVUE, Wash. - Bellevue firefighters said flooding from a broken water pipe caused a fracture in a high-pressure gas main, which caused seven homes to be evacuated.

A water main broke in the 14700 block of Southeast Allen Road about 8:40 a.m.

Southeast Allen Road was closed between Southeast 38th Street and 146th Avenue Southeast. Local traffic was allowed to pass through by noon, but crews remained working behind a partial street closure until evening.

The homes were evacuated as a precaution while crews worked to repair the lines. Residents told KIRO 7 they were instructed not to start their cars.

“You always just want to make sure that…maybe the gas doesn't get trapped in a place that it finds an ignition source,” said Christina Donegan, a spokesperson with Puget Sound Energy.

The Bellevue transportation department, firefighters and Puget Sound Energy responded to the report of a main break.

Neighbor Robert Lee described the smell: “The fumes, you could really smell it all over the place. It was very heavy in this whole neighborhood.”

The area where the streets were closed is residential. While seven families left their homes, 22 total families were without water until about 3:30 p.m.

The estimated time for PSE to complete the gas main repair is between 6 and 8 p.m.

There was no property damage from the water main break and no one was hurt.

Abraham Jaime evacuated his family in the morning. He and others were allowed back to their homes by noon, but they had no gas service.

Jaime said he was “trying to see if I can get my car out of here because I need to go to the store and get some water.”

He didn’t have to though, because the water meters were turned back on around 3:30 p.m.

PSE left tags on many doors, instructing families to call them to relight their gas appliances.

The cause of the 6-inch water main break is unknown at this time, and crews will be checking the site for possible causes. A spokesperson for Bellevue City Water said the pipes in this location are about 50 years old.

He told KIRO 7 water main breaks like this occur about 30 times a year. But Donegan said having such a rupture cause a domino effect of a gas line break as well has only happened two other times this year in the Puget Sound Energy service area.

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