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Video: Merced crews sever gas line while fixing water main

While fixing a broken water main at the intersection of East 20th Street and Highland Drive in Merced, city workers severed a gas line Friday morning, according to Merced Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Akers.

Crews from Pacific Gas and Electric, as well as the fire department, were called to the scene just after 8 a.m. Residents were told to stay in their homes, except for those who needed to get to work, said Akers.

Such breaks, said Akers, aren't routine, but do occur several times a year. Usually, they are smaller lines broken by contractors working on residences. While it isn’t the most dangerous situation, he said, the possible ignition of gas leaks can turn bad fast.

The PG&E crew expected to have the repairs complete by Friday night, said a PG&E spokesman. Only seven customers went without gas because of the break.

Craig Guilliams, manager of Merced’s Water Department, said seven homes lost water from the broken water main. He expected them to all have their water running by Friday evening.

The fire department kept a crew on the scene to monitor the situation.

Reporter Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at (209) 385-2484 or