BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — A gas leak that forced evacuations in unincorporated Boulder County on Thursday evening was caused by “criminal mischief,” according to the sheriff’s office.

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Firefighters with Hygeine Fire Department were the first to arrive on scene near the intersection of Vermillion Road and 87th Street and found a large natural gas pipe leaking.

Members from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and Xcel Public Service arrived on scene and assisted with evacuating nearby homes and closing intersections until the problem could be evaluated.

Xcel personnel were able to quickly shut off the gas line and residents were allowed to return home and the roads were opened.

“Upon inspection of the damaged gas line, it was apparent the cause of the leak was due to criminal mischief,” officials stated. “The damage to the gas line will be very costly to repair and anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.”