A natural gas leak forced officials to evacuate Alta High School, a preschool and nearby houses Monday while workers searched for the source of the problem.

The leak was reported Monday when employees of a Sandy business smelled gas as they arrived to work, said Mountain Fuel spokeswoman Louise Jacobsen. By afternoon, workers discovered and repaired a cracked connection in a 4-inch gas line near an intersection at 114th South and 10th East."The gas was traveling through the sewer and (underground) telephone lines," said Sandy Police Sgt. Gary Saville. The gas was forced to travel through telephone conduits in the area because it could not escape through the concrete of the street above it, Jacobsen said. Alta students were sent home at about 11:15 a.m. and preschool students at La Petite Academy, 11347 S. 10th East, were taken to another facility, Saville said.