Gas line forces hundreds from homes

DAYTON -- A ruptured 10-inch gas line resulted in the evacuation of hundreds of people, including the inhabitants of a Dayton elder care home Saturday morning.

A loud noise like a jet engine rang through Dayton Valley for about 20 minutes at 7:49 a.m. alerting firefighters to the break near Flowery Lane in the Rose Peak neighborhood of Dayton, which was caused by workers digging another gas line to Carson City.

"It was extremely loud," said Amy Solaro, fire prevention specialist for the Central Lyon County Fire District. "We were at the open house and we could see the large plume of dust rising from the hole."

Lyon County Sheriff's Sgt. Jim W. Cupp said there were only a handful of people contacted who wanted to remain in their homes.

"I walked out the front door of my house this morning a half mile away from the leak and it sounded like there was a jet going overhead," he said describing the incident. "It was roaring."

Central Lyon Chief John Gillenwater said the county emergency plan was activated and officials began evacuating homes along Flowery.

Among the evacuees were 43 residents of Dayton Park View, an elder care facility. Gillenwater said another 44 people checked into the shelter at Dayton High School. The Lyon County School district provided two school buses to help move people.

"Not everyone we evacuated went to the shelters," Gillenwater said. "Some people go to stay with family or go out for breakfast and then come back."

Under Nevada law, only the governor can order an evacuation. Otherwise the evacuation is voluntary.

People were allowed to return to their homes at about 10:15 a.m., Solaro said, much earlier than expected.

"We had a great response," she said. "There was no fire and no injuries. We didn't expect to let people back in their homes until at least noon."

Central Lyon firefighters were setting up for their 30th anniversary open house when the gas main broke.

Paid and volunteer firefighters from Dayton, Storey County and Mason Valley, responded to the gas leak along with Lyon County Search and Rescue, the Lyon County Sheriff's Department, Nevada Highway Patrol and the Department of Transportation, Lyon County and Nevada emergency management, the public health nurse and Southwest Gas.


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