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Excavator causes natural gas fire | News

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Excavator causes natural gas fire
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Just after 8 a.m. Friday morning a private contractor using a bobcat struck a natural gas line in the alley behind the home in the 1100 block of East Bridgeport, setting the excavator and the home on fire.

A man, woman and child got out of the home with their pets.� Neither they, nor the contractor, was injured.

The Spokane Fire Department sent a full hazmat response team.� When they arrived, they evacuated the entire block. Firefighters decided their best course of action was to keep the parts of the house surrounding the fire wet and let the fire burn out.

The fire burned out within an hour and the evacuation was subsequently lifted.

April, coincidentally, is National Safe Digging Month. This month Avista Utilities is reminding people to call 8-1-1 at least two days before you dig to find the location of underground natural gas and electric lines in your area.

And, in fact, the contractor digging at the site Friday morning told KXLY that they did call 8-1-1 and Avista did clear them to dig Thursday night after sending someone out to locate and mark the utilities.

That person did not, however, mark for natural gas.

Avista declined comment for this story. They are now trying to figure out exactly what went wrong.

For the family that barely made it out in time, answers would be nice, but they say they spent the day counting their blessings.

"I am just grateful that she is okay, you know animals come and go, but our animals are our kids so we got them all out but two and everybody's fine, you know, everybody reacted fast," Kim Birdsell said.

The family is still searching for one missing cat but they don't think it was hurt.

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