Police and fire officials closed a one-block area of downtown Palo Alto and evacuated nearby buildings for a few hours Tuesday afternoon because of a gas leak that occurred behind The Epiphany Hotel, police said.
The gas leak was reported at 11:51 a.m. and was in an alley behind the hotel, which is located at 180 Hamilton Ave. and which includes the restaurant Nobu, police Sgt. Brian Philip said.
A contractor putting in protective blocking around the gas manifold hit the half-inch line, blowing a hole in the pipe, fire Battalion Chief Chris Woodard said.
Palo Alto Utilities crews contained the leak and shut off the gas, which was leaking from an underground pipe that needed to be excavated. Authorities closed off the block for public safety, including Emerson and High streets between Hamilton and Forest avenues. Pedestrians were not allowed to pass through.
Fire officials evacuated four buildings, including the hotel, the House of Foam, YogaSource and Mangosteen Nails and Spa, Woodard said.
Utilities crews completed repairs on the line around 2:30 p.m., department spokeswoman Catherine Elvert said. The leak had affected service for a dozen customers behind Hamilton between Emerson and High streets.
As of 3:30 p.m., High Street and Hamilton Avenue were reopened, but one lane on High remained closed for utilities employees addressing the leak, according to Woodard.