A gas odor prompted the evacuation of a mall, an animal hospital and a California Highway Patrol building in Corte Madera this morning, a PG&E spokeswoman said.
Tenants of The Village at Corte Madera shopping center at 1800 Redwood Highway first reported the gas leak around 8:30 a.m., PG&E spokeswoman Katie Romans said.
Mall officials called PG&E's emergency line and evacuated mall customers and employees as a precaution. Josh Kalkhorst, senior property manager at the Village at Corte Madera, said most stores at the shopping center aren't open that early, so only about 80 to 100 people were affected by the evacuation.
A gas smell was reported by several other PG&E customers in the area, Romans said, and two additional buildings were evacuated: the California Highway Patrol building at 53 San Clemente Drive and the Madera Pet Hospital at 5796 Paradise Drive.
There were also reports of odors at the Town Center mall across the highway from The Village, and at two high schools in Larkspur -- Redwood High School at 395 Doherty Drive and San Andreas High School at 599 William Ave. Neither the Town Center nor the two high schools were evacuated, Romans said.
Town Center officials alerted their tenants that there was a possible gas leak, but no tenants decided to clear their businesses, Town Center general manager Stan Hoffman said. The odor had dissipated by about 9:30 a.m., and none of those reporting the odor still detected it, Romans said. "It seems to be something wafting through," she said.
Romans said late this morning that PG&E crews remained at the scene trying to find the source of the odor, but had not yet located it. "Crews are on site and we are conducting transmission and distribution line surveys in the area as a precaution," she said. She said that sometimes such smells can come from other sources, such as someone using propane for a generator, but that PG&E encourages customers to report any odor of gas to err on the side of caution.
This is the second time a gas odor has prompted evacuations in as many days in Marin County. On Tuesday, Mill Valley Middle School at 425 Sycamore Ave. in Mill Valley was evacuated after a gas odor was reported to PG&E at around noon, Romans said.
PG&E shut off the gas service at the school and allowed the 830 students and 60 employees that had been evacuated back onto the campus. Crews later discovered a leak in an underground pipe between buildings and are working to get the pipe repaired, Romans said.
--By Bay City News Service