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Ruptured gas line at USC closed, students return to class [UPDATED]

March 31, 2009 |  1:01 pm

About 500 people were evacuated from the area around the USC School of Cinematic Arts this afternoon when a heavy equipment operator ruptured a gas line, authorities said.

After firefighters were unable to turn off the gas when the line ruptured about 12:30 p.m., they began evacuating faculty and staff in the 900 block of West 34th Street,  said d'Lisa Davies, a spokeswoman for  the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Officials from the Southern California Gas Co. have been called to turn off the gas. No injuries have been reported, Davies said.

Updated, 2:10 p.m.: Gas company crews have closed the gas leak that forced the evacuation. Students and faculty members were allowed back into their buildings at about 2 p.m, said Raul Gordillo, a spokesman for the company. At least one building remained without power, and the gas line was being repaired, he said.

-- Ruben Vives