Friday, October 19 , 2018, 10:16 pm | Fair 67º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Fire, Police Respond to Gas Leak

Officials say a contractor using a hand-held electric digging device with a metal space hit a natural gas line

Santa Barbara fire and police responded to a gas leak Monday afternoon near Bishop Garcia Diego High School in Santa Barbara.

There was a natural gas explosion on the 4000 block of Via Diego around 1:36 p.m., according to Santa Barbara City Fire.

A contractor was using a hand-held electric digging device with a metal space and hit a natural gas line, which triggered the explosion and fire. A coworker pulled the worker out of the hole and went to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. A city parks and recreation employee working nearby used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire in the hole, City Fire said. 

The workers had left the scene to go to the hospital before firefighters got to the scene, so it's unclear how badly burned the worker was, fire Capt. Gary Pitney said. 

Bystanders said the workers were trying to put out the fire from the broken gas line with a garden hose, but couldn't get it out. The parks worker just happened to stop across the street at the nearby park, Pitney added. 

"He ran over there with an extinguisher because they had no luck with the garden hose." 

Southern California Gas Company crews responded to the scene and City Fire will notify Cal/OSHA, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, of the incident, according to emergency radio traffic. 

City Fire posted a message reminding people to check www.callbeforeyoudig.org or call 8-1-1 prior to digging.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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