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Homes Evacuated after Gas-Line Rupture

Event closes Chain Bridge Road in both directions.

Fire and Rescue vehicles line Chain Bridge Road, last Thursday afternoon, as traffic is merged into one lane.

Fire and Rescue vehicles line Chain Bridge Road, last Thursday afternoon, as traffic is merged into one lane. Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.

A rupture of a 2-inch, natural gas line last week forced several homes in Oakton to be evacuated and brought afternoon traffic on heavily traveled Chain Bridge Road to a standstill.

The incident occurred last Thursday, Aug. 7, around 2:05 p.m. after a construction crew struck the line while working in the area. Washington Gas personnel rushed to the vicinity of 3050 Chain Bridge to locate and fix the gas leak.

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Fire and Rescue and HAZMAT units on Chain Bridge Road near Oakton Church of the Brethren.

Also responding were seven fire and rescue units and about 20 firefighters from multiple stations, as well as police officers to prevent vehicles from getting anywhere near the leaking gas. Traffic heading north on Chain Bridge, toward Vienna and McLean, was stopped and turned around at Courthouse Road.

This action was taken “to make sure there was no ignition source,” said Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department spokesman Dan Schmidt. The same thing happened to vehicles heading southbound on Chain Bridge toward Fairfax. As a result, traffic was halted in both directions.

As for the nearby residents who had to leave their homes after the leak, Capt. Bill Moreland, another Fire and Rescue spokesman, said it was a necessary precaution to keep people safe. “The gas was released into the air,” he explained. “But if it could get into places where it could collect, it could ignite. So that’s why we did some evacuations.”

He said firefighters, vehicles and equipment raced to the scene from Station 33 in the City of Fairfax, Station 2 in Vienna and Oakton’s station 34, as well as the HAZMAT units from the Fairfax Center Station 40 and McLean’s Station 1, “which is standard procedure.”

According to Moreland, “All units were cleared by 3:54 p.m.,” almost two hours after the incident began.