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Ruptured Gas Line Shut Down; PG&E Restoring Service To 2500 Customers; Order To Shelter Lifted


Moraga police, supported by adjacent agencies, ordered the evacuation of Rheem Center Sunday after a sinkhole dropped a light pole into a major gas line at the Autohaus Stuttgart lot.

Bystanders were ordered out of the area and a 1/4-mile perimeter established around the scene, with hundreds of people and business owners asked to leave the Rheem Center and environs while others in surrounding neighborhoods were advised to shelter in place.

A widening sinkhole collapsed the corner light pole and ruptured a gas line Sunday evening.
A widening sinkhole collapsed the corner light pole and ruptured a gas line Sunday evening.

That order remained in effect for most of the night. PG&E is slowly restoring gas to about 2500 homes in the area.

Residents reported receiving conflicting information from PG&E workers, with some saying they have been told to expect longer outages than previously projected. Rheem School is reported to be without gas service.

On the positive side, all roads – with the exception of Rheem Blvd. from Moraga Road to the Rheem Theater entry – have been reopened. Repair work is expect in the area but all buses are running normally and no further traffic impact is expected.

The Rheem Center and all businesses remained closed Sunday, with neighbors advised to use alternative routes to reach their homes. Many patrons abandoned their meals, purchases or cars when advised to leave the center and environs by police moving to establish a perimeter around the leak.

No one was injured during Sunday’s incident, though at least one minor fender bender was reported during the hasty effort to clear the area.


  1. We were having frozen yogurt at Tangelo when the police rushed in and ordered us out the back door. Quite the operation going on there.. My car is parked inside the inclusion zone, but we were fortunate to actually grab an Uber car. Hope everything is under control over there…

    • Thanks for taking the time to write, Greg… and hope you guys are okay. Let us know if you need anything…

  2. Well, I’d like to have finished my frozen yogurt… I tried to get a photo of the actual hole for you earlier, but we were advised not to get within 50 feet of the area — and for good reason!

  3. How close to this sinkhole was the prior sinkhole at this intersection? Or was the prior problem (some year(s) ago) not a sinkhole?

    • That’s the sixth or seventh question about this we’ve gotten and our answer is “we’re not sure.” The occurrence of the previous slide has mud slipped our mind. But other long-time residents have asked the same.

  4. We live on Ascot so I called the police and she said as this time they do no plan further evacuations and PG&E is working on it.

    • Hey, Shannon… correct. The hard perimeter is in place, PG&E is doing its thing. At this point we don’t know about any possible school or road closures. We believe they are hoping to repair this thing and restore order – and Taco Bell – for the town.

    • Not at this point, JKH… we’ll advise if we hear of any school/road closures for the a.m. Hang in there…

  5. The current sinkhole is at Autohaus, right? The old one was across the street, Rheem Center side of that crosswalk, and partway into the intersection and crosswalk on Center (headed toward Stars). Best I can recall from rubbernecking back then!

    • It is. That’s an interesting point of reference and thanks. The area is prone to underground movement, apparently. We’re thinking… Godzilla?

  6. I just spoke with the dispatcher for MPD, asking about access to my vehicle, which is parked in the vicinity since the evacuation. He said there is no information on when any sort of “all clear” will be issued. He said a statement would be issued when there was something to report.

  7. More likely something from Ghostbusters II than Godzilla. Don’t dither. Call in the pros from PG&E. They have seen it all, in all weather, and from both sides of the portal.

  8. Any update if the gas leak issue is resolved? My kids daycare is in the Rheem shopping center and I am hoping it’s going to be open today

    • Hi, except for a road closure on Rheem Blvd. from Moraga Rd. to the Theater entrance you should be good to go, though they will be repairing roads in the area. PG&E restoring gas service – slowly – for about 2500 customers.

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