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      Atmos Energy: Gas line rupture under investigation

      A plumber called to work in the alley at the 2500 Block of South Polk accidentally hit a major gas line, forcing homes to be evacuated, and left eight of them without gas service.

      T he renters of the home directly in front of the busted gas line didn't expect to come home and see half of their backyard torn to pieces.

      "T his afternoon a contractor was digging in the alley, and he accidentally ruptured a line , " Director of Public Affairs of Atmos Energy, Roy Urrutia, said.

      Texas811 recommends residents call them before digging on or around their property , and in this case, Urrutia said the lines in the alley were clearly marked.

      "W e have an order where the lines were marked and at this point we're trying to determine what happened in this situation ," he said.

      According to Urrutia t he ruptured line had just been replaced earlier this year. He said there was a steel line feet away that had been abandoned, and the new plastic line took its place providing gas to the entire neighborhood.

      J ohn Stromberg's backyard faces the alley, and although he wasn't home at the time of the break, his son was and found a yellow notice on their door.

      "T he fire department came to the door, kind of told them their was a gas leak and that they needed to get out ." he said. "S o they came out and waited across the street for a little and at about 3:50 they let everybody back in."

      Shona Bagley was home but said she didn't hear the fire department knock on her door the first time.

      " T he fire department came to the door, they said that they were evacuating the neighborhood due to the gas leak , but t hey wouldn't give me anymore information , " Bagley said.

      A tmos Energy said it evacuated surrounding homes because it didn't have the option of turning off the gas line.

      " S o what happens is that you have to let that gas vent and then operate backward ," Urrutia said. "T o where you can squeez the line, and then make the repairs."

      Atmos Energy restored the gas for residents at about 6 p.m. The residents living in the house where the gas line ruptured were also left without water, but said their landlord was renting them a room at a hotel for the night.