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Firefighters contain woodland fire in Woodside

Workers struck and broke a gas line

Firefighters from the Woodside Fire Protection District needed about 20 minutes Monday to contain a woodland fire that burned some 600 square feet of vegetation in an upland Woodside neighborhood.

Investigators are attributing the fire to a stray spark igniting natural gas after two men digging a post hole with a gasoline-driven power auger accidentally struck and broke a residential gas line on Josselyn Lane near Kings Mountain Road at around 1:30 p.m.

There were no injuries, only slight physical damage, and the residence was never threatened, Battalion Chief Jerry Nave told the Almanac.

Firefighters remained on the scene for more than an hour to keep watch on a small flare of burning gas from the severed 3/4-inch pipe while waiting for workers from Pacific Gas & Electric to arrive and secure the gas line.

"It was safer for us to keep it burning so that we could see it and keep an eye on it," Mr. Nave said.

The situation could have been much worse had the property not been managed with fire-safe practices such as trimming shrubbery to prevent a fire from climbing into the treetops, he said. "Luckily, the homeowner (practiced) real good fuel management," Mr. Nave said. "The resident deserves a lot of credit."

The fire district sent 20 firefighters in the initial response after a 911 caller reported a house on fire, but scaled it back to eight after evaluating the situation, Mr. Nave said.

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