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Gas Leak in Middleton Forces Neighborhood Evacuation

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Gas Leak in Middleton Forces Neighborhood Evacuation

By Tammy Scardino. CREATED Aug 3, 2014

A Middleton neighborhood was evacuated Saturday night after someone drove into a natural gas pipe, causing a leak.

Officials with the Canyon County Sheriff's Office say a 38-year-old man was in the driver's seat.

While it's still unknown what caused his behavior, the homeowner whose property was damaged is left picking up the pieces.

“It's a fairly nice, quaint neighborhood, no issues, and all of sudden something like this happens," said Daniel Tuttle, the owner of the home that was hit.

Tuttle wasn't home at the time of the accident, but his neighbors told him that a man backed out of a nearby driveway around 11:30 p.m.

They said he then started spinning cookies in the roadway before driving onto the lawn. After almost hitting a home, the driver reportedly threw the vehicle into reverse and smashed into a natural gas line.

Deputies relied on their alert sense phone notification system to contact at least 23 homeowners to let them know an evacuation was in order.

"Watch out for open flames, anything like an ignition source or sparks, or what not,” said Lt. Bill Adams with the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office. “And, once you get the call asking you to evacuate, it's important enough that you got called and you should leave immediately."

The gas line was shut off and people were allowed back into their homes along Eaton Road and West 3rd Street within 15 minutes.

Tuttle expects it to take a couple of days to get his hot water up and running. Luckily, electrical units provide power to his home.

"It could be worse, so, you know, I'm lucky it wasn't worse than that. I feel pretty fortunate," he said.

Adams said the driver was non-compliant when deputies arrived and was detained. The man was then evaluated at a local hospital and criminal charges could be pending.

Anyone wishing to sign up to receive alerts from the Canyon County Sheriff's Office can do so by logging on to their website.