Several Portales residents were evacuated due to a natural gas leak.

Thomas Garcia

A natural gas leak Monday morning on Yucca Drive led to the evacuation of several homes.

A city of Portales crew digging in an alley in the 100 block of Yucca Drive hit a PNM gas line about 8:30 a.m., causing the leak, according to city and PNM officials.

The crew was using a milling machine to break up the caliche in the alley,” according to Portales Public Works Director Tom Howell.

“The crew had spotted for the gas line but it was only six to eight inches deep and was hit,” Howell said.

The workers notified the surrounding residents to what had happen and notified the gas company so the line could be repaired, Portales City Manager Debi Lee said.

Eight people in a one-block radius of the accident were displaced, according to Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry.

“My wife and I went inside of our home because of the strong gas smell,” Ken Morrison said. “I was working in my backyard when I heard a loud pop. Some workers came over right away and told me that a line had been hit. The police advised us not to do anything that would cause a spark.”

PNM spokesman Kevin Fuller said the leaking line was shut off immediately. He said service to the residents in that area was not affected for long.

“The amount of gas that was released is unknown at this time,” Fuller said. “Any gas that was released would have dissipated immediately with the leak occurring outside.”