Several residents in an Auburn neighborhood were moved from their homes early Friday after methane gas was found in soil samples around the 16 homes.
Puget Sound Energy crews were doing routine core soil sampling about 8 p.m. Thursday when they found traces of the gas in the soil, according to Kent Regional Fire Authority spokesman Kyle Ohashi.
A private company did additional testing and continued to find evidence of a gas in the soil, Ohashi said.
The Fire Authority’s hazardous materials team was called and determined the gas was methane. Traces of the gas were found in homes in the 31000 block of 133th Avenue Southeast.
Residents were moved from the 16 homes as a precaution early Friday.
“It was very very minor levels of gas, if there was any at all,” Ohashi said.
Families were kept warm on a waiting Metro bus while fire officials determined whether it was safe for them to return to their homes. They were allowed back in about 6 a.m.
“We apologized for having to move people on such a chilly night,” Ohashi said of the inconvenience.
The source of the methane gas is unknown, according to Ohashi, who said it is not connected to PSE.
Methane is a byproduct of decomposing substances, such as garbage or other trash, Ohashi said.
“This is not like a broken gas line like natural gas,” he said. “It very well could have been here for a number of years.”
The problem will be turned over to other agencies, including the city of Auburn and the state Department of Ecology, for study and potentially a remedy.