- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

AHWATUKEE, Ariz. (AP) - Five homes in the Phoenix suburb of Ahwatukee remain evacuated because of a natural gas leak.

A Southwest Gas contractor discovered the leak in a half-inch line during a survey last Friday.

Homeowners in the neighborhood near 32nd Street and Pecos Road originally were told they would likely be able to return to their homes within a week.

That possibility diminished Thursday after workers determined the leak was repaired but the gas had seeped into the ground and saturated the area.

Authorities say the amount of gas in the ground will take several days to remove.

Residents’ front lawns are dug up with aeration machines sucking the gas out of the soil.

Southwest Gas is investigating the cause of the leak and paying the evacuated residents’ lodging and reasonable expenditures.

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