Shelter-in-place lifted for San Pablo


A call came in to Contra Costa Fire District at 8:35 a.m. reporting that a construction crew working to demolish the old Downer Elementary School, located at 1231 18th St. at the corner of Sanford Avenue, apparently hit a two-inch natural gas line, Contra Costa Fire District spokeswoman Emily Hopkins said.

The shelter-in-place warning was issued at 8:45 a.m. for the new Downer Elementary School, located at 1777 Sanford Ave., as a precaution. The school was upwind from the leak and children were not in danger, Contra Costa Hazardous Materials Specialist Paul Andrews said.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews arrived on scene at 9:06 a.m. and had the line closed off at 11:26 a.m., Hopkins said.

Children remained safe and secure in their classrooms with their teachers throughout the incident, West Contra Costa Unified School District spokesman Paul Ehara said.

Parents who wished to pick up their children were allowed to do so, Ehara said, but classes were being conducted as usual at the school.

School officials initially thought that Cesar Chavez Elementary School, located at 960 17th St. in Richmond, would also be told to shelter-in-place, but firefighters quickly determined that it was not necessary, Ehara said.

Police and firefighters set up barricades to keep people and vehicles out of the area as a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crew worked to cap the leak. Those barricades have since been removed.

No fires, explosions, property damage or injuries were reported, San Pablo police Sgt. Kenneth Bays said.

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