Evacuations of about 50 homes lifted after ‘suspicious containers’ found in Venice neighborhood

VENICE >> A natural gas line was severed Monday afternoon at a residential property in Venice, leading to evacuations, a hazardous materials investigation and bomb squad call-out after suspicious containers were found on the property, authorities said.

Firefighters responded about 1:35 p.m. to a report of a natural gas leak in the area before the containers were found at 2013 S. Walgrove Ave., near Palms Boulevard, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The Los Angeles Police Department reported it was investigating if a suspect, believed to be a former tenant at the property, tampered with the gas line.

A bomb squad was summoned, as was the Southern California Gas Co., but details about what, if anything, was in the containers, which were located in the rear of the property, was not immediately available.

About 50 surrounding homes were evacuated as a precaution and Walgrove was closed to traffic between Vienna Way and Victoria Avenue. Glencove Avenue was also closed from Victoria Avenue to Vienna Way, Stewart said.

A gas company crew pinched off the severed line and continued digging to reach a shut-off valve, Stewart said about 5:50 p.m.

The valve was closed about 7:30 p.m., which also interrupted gas service to about 60 homes in the immediate area, according to gas company spokesman Chris Gilbride.

The premises were rendered safe about 10 p.m. and the evacuations were lifted, according to Officer Mike Lopez of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section.

An evacuation center had been set up at the Penmar Recreation Center at 1341 Lake St. for displaced residents, but less than 10 people used it, Stewart said.

The gas company intended begin restoring service to affected customers by 8 a.m. Tuesday.

No injuries were reported.

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