Gas Leak Outside San Diego Zoo Prompts Evacuations, Closure of Park

San Diego Zoo Entrance, Topiary Elephant

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A contractor struck a 4-inch steel pipeline this morning at a construction site near the entrance of the San Diego Zoo, causing a natural gas leak that prompted evacuations and a closure of the zoo, authorities said.

The leak was reported around 8 a.m. at 2920 Zoo Drive, off Park Boulevard near the zoo's main entrance, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Monica Munoz said.

A third-party contractor struck a 4-inch steel pipeline at a construction site, causing the leak, San Diego Gas & Electric spokeswoman Sara Prince said.

The zoo is undergoing a redesign of the Children's Zoo area of the park, located near the front entrance.

The main entrance to the zoo and the nearby parking lot were closed as crews continued to work on repairs, Prince said.

NBC7 reported that the animals were not evacuated, but employees were evacuated from the Wegeforth Bowl, Dickinson Center, gift shops, Reptile House, Tiger River and Treetops and the Benchley Building.

Zoo employees were told to go to the War Memorial Building, the station reported.

As of 9:50 a.m., the zoo was closed until further notice, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue.

SDG&E crews shut off gas to all areas of Balboa Park, excluding the Museum of Man, and as of 10:20 a.m. crews were still working to cap the leak, Prince said.

Photo: Getty Images

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