Emergency crews stopped a gas leak Thursday evening. There was a hazardous materials incident north of Ventura.
The leak was stopped, road closers and evacuation orders were lifted around 10:30 p.m.
The gas was leaking just outside Ventura’s city limits near Shell Road and Ventura Avenue. As a precaution the Office of Emergency Services has road closures and an evacuation order in place for the surrounding industrial area.
Aera Energy says the gas is leaking from an old well, that was in the process of being prepared for abandonment when a cracked piece of equipment started leaking gas Wednesday afternoon.
“A piece of equipment failed and so there was a leakage of gas and water vapor in that area. We called and reported it to DOGGAR (Division of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources), and APCD (Air Pollution Control District) as required and then this morning we really felt like in an abundance of caution that we needed to call OES and report it so that they could actually help us notify people in the area,” said Aera Energy spokesperson Michele Newell.
Aera Energy notified Ventura County Sheriff Office of Emergency Services as a precaution on Thursday morning that the idle well site was releasing a visible vapor cloud. Shortly after OES issued the mandatory evacuation order and road closures around Shell Road and Ventura Avenue.
“We are not seeing any high levels of anything on our monitors at this time but we have to exercise that due diligence. We want to make sure that those gasses aren’t getting out in levels that can effect the public,” said Capt. Mike Lindbery with the Ventura County Fire Department.
Nearby residential areas that are not under an evacuation order or affected by the vapor cloud are North of Ventura Avenue, North of Crooked Palm and South of Dakota Street.
California Highway Patrol has Highway 33 northbound and southbound off-ramps closed due to the gas leak.
Newell says a Aera Energy employee that was working on the well was treated for exposure to the gas, but that monitors show the gas is not at levels high enough to be dangerous to the nearby neighborhoods.
Aera hopes to have the problem fixed and the leak contained by Thursday evening.
For more information on this incident, visit http://www.vcemergency.com.