LYONS, Ore. -- A natural gas leak caused by a single-vehicle DUII crash called for a large-scale evacuation in the town of Lyons, Ore. Sunday Afternoon, the Linn County Sheriff's Office said.
LCSO deputies and Lyons Fire Department personnel responded to a a call at around 12:40 p.m. Sunday about a Ford F350 pickup that had knocked down a power pole and ruptured a high pressure Northwest Natural Gas line at the corner of 16th and Main.
The driver of the truck, Erik Smith, 41 of Aumsville, his three-year-old daughter and their two large dogs were able to safely get away from the crash scene.
Sergeant Kevin Guilford with LCSO said that the primary safety concern from the crash was with the natural gas harming people living in the vicinity. Emergency crews evacuated an estimated 250 Lyons residents in the area to a safe distance (over a fifth of the town's population, according to the 2011 National Census). Guilford said the evacuation took just over an hour to evacuate an area that covered approximately 10 city blocks.
Smith was arrested and charged with reckless endangering and driving, as well as DUII.
After repairs were made to the pipe and pole, the area was deemed safe and residents were allowed back into the area at about 4 p.m. Sunday. Officials did not know how many people were without power or gas services during the incident.