50 Homes Evacuated In Venice After Gas Leak, Police Say Ex-Tenant Intentionally Tampered With Gas Line
Responding to reports of a natural gas leak in a Venice neighborhood on Monday, authorities found that an ex-tenant had allegedly tampered with a gas line. A number of "suspicious" containers were also found at the residential property, prompting evacuations and a response from a bomb squad and hazardous materials team. Those containers are still being investigated, according to a statement released by the Los Angeles Fire Department at 4:40 p.m. The fire department is currently working with the Los Angeles Police Department and the gas company to shut off the active gas leak, according to the statement. Approximately 50 homes have been evacuated.
The LAFD first responded to the reports of a natural gas leak around the 2000 block of Walgrove Avenue in Venice just after 1:30 p.m. on Monday. Police also responded. LAPD Officer Mike Lopez told LAist that "an investigation revealed that an ex-tenant tampered with the gas line, causing us to call the bomb squad and hazardous materials."
Surrounding homes were also evacuated, and Walgrove remains closed to traffic between Palms Boulevard and Victoria Avenue. Although the LAPD has identified a former tenant as a suspect, they do not yet have him in custody, according to Lopez.
"It's still an active scene," Margaret Stewart, a spokesperson with the Los Angeles Fire Department, told LAist at 4:15 p.m., adding that investigations were ongoing.
No injuries have been reported, according to City News Service.