At 9:11 am, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue was called to 11945 SW Pacific Hwy. (Tigard Plaza) following reports that a contractor had severed a natural gas line.
Responding firefighters from TVF&R's Tigard stations worked to evacuate approximately 15 businesses in the complex, isolate the source of the leak, and prepare for fire attack in case of flammability or hazards resulting from the leak.
Four homes were also evacuated due to their proximity to the shopping plaza and air quality concerns for residents. NW Natural and PGE crews responded to shut off utilities, allowing firefighters to enter businesses in full self-contained breathing apparatus to monitor air quality. Air quality readings were taken throughout the morning. Despite a strong smell of fumes, no individuals were treated for medical problems related to the incident thanks to a carefully established hot zone that kept the public at a safe distance from the building.
At 12:14 pm, it was determined that the gas had dissipated enough that people were allowed back into the evacuated businesses. Utilities will remain shut off until repairs are made to the severed gas line.
Firefighters were able to help displaced workers and patrons retrieve schedules to cancel client appointments and push vehicles out of the hot zone so people could pick up their children at school. This is an excellent reminder that emergencies can happen at any time. Always be aware of how you would exit a building quickly in case of an emergency. Also, have a back-up plan to take care of family and school needs in the event that the unexpected happens.
Tigard Police assisted with traffic control and evacuations on this incident.