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Back-To-Back Gas Leaks In Vail Has Residents, Guests Concerned

VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) - A construction company has been told to stop working after they hit a gas line, forcing the evacuation of homes in Vail Monday evening. It's the same construction crew that hit a gas line forcing the evacuation of 900 hotel guests in Vail last Wednesday.

gas leak from vail fd
A gas leak in Vail on Monday (credit: Vail Fire)

The leaks are now turning into a blame game. CBS4's Jeff Todd talked to the project manager on Tuesday. He said markings which are laid down by a third party aren't always accurate, and that's most likely Xcel Energy's fault for having bad maps.

Vail Gas Leak
The scene on Aug. 6 in Vail (credit: Suzanne Silverthorn)

Residents and guests in Vail say it's unacceptable.

"We were evacuated out of here, but they put us up at the Holiday Inn" said Jim Maltby, one of about 100 people who were displaced.

"The simple answer is it's a public safety issue," Chief Mark Miller with the Vail Fire Department said. "To be on the safe side we usually evacuate somewhere between a 500 or 600 foot perimeter."

In the past week a total of about 1,000 people have had to find another place to sleep after the same construction crew hit a gas line again.

"We've put a stop work order on them, so until we meet with them and work out some protocols, they're no longer allowed to dig," Chief Mark Miller with the Vail Fire Department said.

The crew working Tuesday afternoon was patching the road where the second rupture is fixed.

Vail Gas Leak map
(credit: CBS)

A wireless company is trying to lay down about 7 ½ miles of fiber optics. They only have half a mile left.

"We look at it sort of from a different perspective -- not just fixing a leak, but what is the potential for a real public safety disaster here?" Miller said.

Gas leaks can be very dangerous. In March of 2013 in Grand Junction three people were injured and two homes destroyed during a gas leak where people weren't evacuated.

Maltby says he doesn't want to see the same thing in Vail.

"They really need to figure out what they're doing as far as marking the lines so that somebody in the future doesn't get hurt or killed," he said.

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