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Gas leak forces Sauvie Island residents from homes

Several Sauvie Island homes were evacuated early Friday morning after a natural gas pipeline on the island began to leak.

The gas line, owned by Williams Gas Pipeline, began to leak shortly after 6 a.m. Jan. 10, forcing the evacuation of several houses within a half-mile radius of the pipe and along Northwest Larson Road on the Multnomah Channel.

The leak also started a fire, which forced Multnomah County sheriff's deputies to close roads on the island. The Sauvie Island Bridge and Highway 30 were also briefly closed during the incident.

Residents took shelter at Sauvie Island School on Northwest Charlton Road while firefighters from Portland Fire and Rescue and Sauvie Island Volunteer Fire District 30 tried to contain the leak and fought the fire.

Sauvie Island Academy also was closed for the day because of the leak.

Residents received the all-clear notice more than an hour later and they were able to return to their homes.

Firefighters said the leak was discovered in a large pressure relief valve that began off-gassing natural gas early in the morning, which sparked the fire.