Oceanside CA— Shortly after 7:00pm, Sunday May 22, 2016, several callers reported to 9-1-1 that a passenger car, a Toyota sedan driven by an 85-year-old male, had struck a building in the Vista Oceana community in central Oceanside. The first fire department units arrived at 3600 block of Vista Campana, just over four minutes later and found a small sedan had failed to stop at the end of a parking area and had driven half-way into one of the units in the complex. Unfortunately, the vehicle also sheared off the main gas meter for the duplex as it plowed into the building. The driver had been assisted from the vehicle just before the fire department had arrived and was quickly moved to a safe area for evaluation and treatment.
Due to the large volume of gas emanating from the sheared pipe, a unified command was established with the Oceanside Police Department (OPD). Police officers began to evacuate the units adjacent to the affected building while fire crews attempted to stop the flow of gas spewing out directly underneath the vehicle.
It was quickly determined that there was so much damage to the gas line that it would be impossible to stop the flow at the meter. Additionally, due to the still evening air, the amount of natural gas detected by firefighters around the complex with their gas monitors forced the additional evacuation of all 30 units in the immediate vicinity.
OPD officers went door to door notifying the residents to leave while firefighters assisted with removing any elderly residents who had trouble moving or required special care. OPD worked with the local community and was able to set up a shelter in the community room of a nearby church.
San Diego Gas and Electric was requested to respond with a work crew and the first representative arrived 23 minutes after the first fire units. The complete crew was on scene by 9:15 pm they immediately started work digging a hole through the concrete driveway in order to stop the flow of gas away from the car and building. The gas line was pinched off and secured at 9:52 pm. Although 15 units in the complex were expected to potentially be without gas service overnight, SDG&E was able to bring in enough service technicians and large storage bottles in order to restore gas to all but two units this evening.
The driver and sole occupant of the Toyota was uninjured but was transported to Tri City Medical Center by paramedics out of an abundance of caution.
Oceanside Police Department traffic investigators responded to the scene. The investigation revealed alcohol was a factor in the collision and the driver was issued a citation for driving under the influence. He was not booked into jail as a result of his medical condition. No further information is available at this time.