OCEANSIDE — On Sunday evening, an 85-year old man, plowed into a residential building in the Vista Oceana community, and severed a gas line.
Firefighters arrived at the North Vista Campana address within four minutes, to find a Toyota sedan had failed to stop in the parking area and driven halfway into one of the units.
The driver had been assisted out of the car prior to first responders’ arrival. Firefighters moved the man to a safe area for evaluation.
The investigation found alcohol to be a factor in the crash.
Fire crews worked to stop leaking gas from spewing directly beneath the stuck vehicle. Extensive damage made it impossible to stop the flow of gas at the meter.
Residents from 30 units were evacuated by police officers, due to the large amount of gas released from the sheared pipe.
Firefighters in breathing apparatuses entered the units to retrieve medication, belongings, and a family rabbit for occupants. A temporary shelter for displaced residents was arranged at a nearby church.
An SDG&E crew was requested, and arrived 23 minutes after first responders initially got to the scene.
A hole was dug through the concrete driveway to stop the flow of gas to the car and building. The gas line was pinched and secured just before 10 p.m.
Firefighters exhausted all remaining gas from the building by 11 p.m. A tow truck removed the vehicle.
SDG&E brought in service technicians and had gas restored to 13 of the 15 units affected that evening.
All but two occupants were able to return to their homes that night. The Red Cross assisted a couple that needed shelter for the evening.
The elderly driver was issued a citation for driving under the influence, and transported to Tri-City Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
Other than the driver, there were no other injuries to residents or firefighters.