Eureka Fire Department Capt. Chris Jelinek said the call came in around 8:10 this morning, possibly from the truck driver who caused the leak. The smell of butyl mercaptan -- the odorant added to natural gas to detect leaks -- filled the area as fumes poured from the severed 1.5-inch pipe.
The block between Fourth and Fifth and D and E streets was evacuated along with the south side of Fifth St., including Starbucks. The Eureka Fire Department diverted northbound traffic to Seventh St. and closed sections of D and E streets while PG&E workers dug into the asphalt to reach the surrounding pipes.
By 9:45 the leak had been contained and one lane of northbound Hwy. 101 was opened. Capt. Jelinek said the area is now safe and PG&E should complete the repair work within an hour or two.