Laguna Beach residents temporarily evacuated over gas leak

A gas leak in a Laguna Beach neighborhood Sunday prompted the evacuation of nearby residents, who have since been allowed to return home, according to officials. 

The gas leak was first reported as a small water leak around 7 a.m. Crews responding to the area discovered water and mud running heavily on both sides of Pacific Coast Highway down 10th Avenue for nearly a mile. 

"I was barely awake when my car just dropped into the earth, so I was pretty out of my mind at that point," said Sara Vandyke. She said that early Sunday morning a neighbor banged on her door telling her that she needed to move her car.

"I was about 20 feet away from my car with my keys in hand, rushing to it when it just dropped into the ground," she said.

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"We received a call around 7 a.m. about a small water leak," Sheena Johnson with South Coast Water District, adding that when officials got there the leak got bigger. 

But the concerns weren't just water. Vandyke's fallen car hit a gas line, breaking it. The leak prompted officials to evacuate seven homes. 

Authorities announced just before noon that the gas leak was mitigated and residents could return home.

Officials are still investigating the leak, but say the culprit may have been a 15-20-year-old water main, but Mark Serna with South Coast Water said, "we can't say for sure" if the sinkhole was caused by recent rains in the area.

Authorities said there is no threat to the immediate area.