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Car Hits Gas Meter; Hotel Is Evacuated

January 27, 1998|BONNIE HAYES

Hundreds of guests at the Waterfront Hilton were evacuated Monday, after a hotel employee on his way to work lost control of his car and struck the building's main gas line, officials said.

The crash occurred about 9 a.m. when the employee, whose name was not released, misjudged the distance to the driveway and drove over a curb, crashing into the gas meter, Fire Battalion Chief Mick Terich said. No one was injured.

The collision severed a 2-inch line; hotel guests and workers reported smelling gas.

"Until we could fix the leak, we knew we had to get everyone out, so we evacuated the entire hotel," Terich said. "Everyone was moved to the convention area, which we established as a temporary safe area."

About 90 employees and guests in 170 rooms were evacuated to the convention area just south of the main hotel building. Not all of the hotel's 290 rooms were occupied at the time, officials said.

After a tow truck pulled the car from the gas meter, utility crews pinched off the line and began repairs, Terich said.

The guests and employees were allowed to return within 90 minutes, but fire crews remained as a precaution, he said.

Terich said thick morning fog likely contributed to the crash.

"He was trying to make it into the driveway and just missed," Terich said.

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