Homes evacuated after crash causes gas leak

Dozens of homes had to be evacuated on South Bend’s south side Friday night when a white pickup truck hit a home’s gas line after being struck by another car.

It happened around 8 p.m. near the intersection of Dubail and Catalpa streets.

Witnesses say a car ran a stop sign at the intersection and hit a white pickup truck. The force caused the truck to spin into a nearby home, hitting a natural gas line.

“The stop sign's kind of hard to see because there's a tree that’s blocking the stop sign a little bit,” said Elijah Suggs, who witnessed the crash. “If you don't slow down to ten, maybe five miles, you'll fly right past the stop sign.”

Inside the home the pickup hit was Jees Torrez, who was celebrating his 11th birthday with his family. The boy was noticeably shaken up after the accident.

“We just heard the boom and then we just went outside and looked,” Torrez said. “They said gas was leaking and there could be a fire and then my dogs went back in the house.”

Several young men ran down the block knocking on neighbor’s doors to get them out of their homes.

Once firefighters arrived, every house within a two-block radius of the leak was evacuated.

“A lot of people are panicked because a lot of their people stay over here on the south side,” said Pablo Pedraza, who witnessed the accident.

During all of the chaos, a 3-year-old was hit by a car while his family was trying to leave the neighborhood.

He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. His family says he has some bad cuts, but will be OK.

Families had to stay out of their homes for a couple hours while crews worked to shut off power and turn off the gas line.

Late Friday night, residents were let back into the neighborhood as NIPSCO crews finished up work on the line.

Both drivers involved in the crash walked away from the accident.

“It was a crazy accident for everyone to come out OK,” Pedraza said.

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