Wednesday's large gas leak in Linden Hills wasn't caused by construction crews, as originally reported, but rather by the same conditions that cause potholes.
CenterPoint Energy spokesperson Becca Virden said the leak began around 12:30 p.m. when "weather related thawing and freezing" of the ground caused a six-inch gas main to shift and begin to leak. To prevent an accidental ignition of escaping gas, Minneapolis emergency personnel created an eight-block evacuation zone around the leak on the 4000 block of Xerxes Ave South, an area stretching from West 39th Street to West 42nd Street and from Upton Ave South to Zenith Ave South.
Read our liveblog of the incident—mistakes and all.
"Incidents like this are rare," Virden said, saying that while the pipe did fail, the systems designed to prevent an explosion like the one that sent flames towering over the Windom neighborhood two years ago worked as intended.
"We owe a lot of thanks to our customer for recognizing the smell and making the right call. Our hats are off to them, and of course to the Minneapolis Fire Department for the way they responded," Virden said.
Virden said the conditions that lead to Wednesday's leak were different from those that caused the Windom explosion. The Windom explosion, a pair of dueling engineering analyses hold, was either caused by poorly-designed pipe fittings or by groundwater eating away soil underneath the pipe unseen, leading it to collapse under the weight of road traffic.
No customers lost gas service as a result of the leak, and by 7 p.m., all effected Linden Hills residents were allowed to return home.