Homes evacuated after car crash creates gas leak in Silverthorne neighborhood |

Homes evacuated after car crash creates gas leak in Silverthorne neighborhood

The house on Rainbow Drive was unoccupied at the time of the crash.
Elise Reuter / |

Nearly a dozen houses were evacuated Wednesday night when a pickup truck crashed into a building, rupturing a gas line. Silverthorne police responded when the truck swerved off of Rainbow Drive, crashing through the garage door of an unoccupied Silverthorne home at 901 Rainbow Drive around 7 p.m.

“The truck went into the garage area. It did some damage to the supporting weight bearing walls and crashed into the bathroom inside the house as well,” Silverthorne police chief Mark Hanschmidt said.

The driver was slightly injured, receiving on-scene medical treatment but declining further treatment. His wife was also unharmed.

Dillon Police, Lake Dillon Fire, Copper Fire and Red, White & Blue Fire responded to the incident, helping police evacuate three blocks in the neighborhood and firefighters establish hose lines and help dissipate the gas.

“It was a pretty dense amount of gas that was spewing out of this pipe. It was a pretty strong smell,” Lake Dillon Fire public information officer Steve Lipsher said. “We were really pleased with how the neighborhood responded to it. They recognized the potential threat.”

Xcel Energy shut off the gas, repairing the leak within an hour. Although natural gas is explosive, it is lighter than air and dissipates quickly when ventilated. The totaled vehicle was towed later once the structural integrity of the building had been assessed.

“It was a good incident in terms of the outcome. Nobody got hurt beyond the driver being slightly injured. Everybody worked well together,” Lipsher said. “Everybody did what they were supposed to do. It was as smooth as you could ever ask.”

The empty, unoccupied home had been recently purchased and was set for renovations. Chief Hanschmidt said that no drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, but it was a medical situation.

“We’re very fortunate that we didn’t have a worse problem on our hands,” Lake Dillon fire chief Jeff Berino said in a statement. “Thanks to everyone in the neighborhood who took seriously the ‘rotten egg’ smell of natural gas and cooperated with our efforts to prevent an explosion or fire.”

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