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Updated: RSM Shoppers, Diners, Athletes Evacuated

Patrons removed because of gas leak near the 24 Hour Fitness in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Updated on Sunday at 7 p.m.

A restaurant worker unloading supplies on Saturday accidentally hit a valve on a natural gas line, causing a leak that led to area buildings in Plaza El Paseo being evacuated, according to a spokeswoman for Southern California Gas Company.

Among those that were cleared out were 24 Hour Fitness and eateries Embarcadero California Bistro and Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant.

The evacuation came after a break in a large gas line, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department blotter. The OCSD received a 9-1-1 call at 12:38 p.m.

The gas line was sealed an hour later, 1:38 p.m. By 2:15, emergency personnel were cleared from the location.

The Orange County Fire Department evacuated shopping areas on both sides of El Paseo at Alma Aldea.

Mike P January 29, 2013 at 02:51 AM
When I went into 24 hr. fitness on Saturday afternoon, it must have just happened because there was a very loud hissing noise when I got out of my car. I thought it may be a gas leak, but there was no smell, so I figured it was a high pressure air line and went in to work out. A couple of minutes later the fire dept. showed up, and shortly after that they made the announcement to evacuate through the emergency exit in the back of the building. I'm surprised that it took so long to turn off the gas. That big of a leak, for that long could have created quit an explosion.

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