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Pipeline Ruptures, Sparks Massive Fire North Of Prince George, B.C.

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 10 Oct, 2018
  • Pipeline Ruptures, Sparks Massive Fire North Of Prince George, B.C.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — About 100 members of a First Nation community in northern British Columbia were evacuated from their homes Tuesday evening after a gas pipeline ruptured, sparking a massive blaze.

 

The rupture happened on a natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge about 13.5 kilometres from Prince George on Tuesday evening, Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said in an emailed statement.

 

It ignited at the site, which is in a rural area. There are no reports of injuries, he said.

 

"Enbridge emergency crews have responded, have isolated and are currently depressurizing two natural gas transmission lines in the vicinity to contain the incident," he said. "The incident area has been cordoned off to maintain public safety."

 

The evacuees largely belonged to the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation and were asked to leave their homes as a precaution, he said.

 

"Enbridge is working with area communities to ensure public safety," he said.

 
 
 
 

British Columbia's Ministry of Environment said it had been notified of the incident Shelley, B.C., and involved an 900 PSI pipeline.

 

Prince George resident Dhruv Desai said he was driving up a hill toward the nearby University of Northern British Columbia when he noticed several cars had pulled off the road taking photos of something.

 

He pulled over as well and snapped his own shots of a massive blaze.

 

"I was able to see it very clearly from the hill," he said. "It was huge even from this distance."

 

Meanwhile, National Energy Board spokesman Tom Neufeld said the fire was along Enbridge's Westcoast main line, which falls under the board's jurisdiction.

 

The Westcoast Transmission System transports natural gas produced in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to consumers in B.C. and, through interconnecting pipelines, other Canadian provinces and the United States.

 

"NEB inspectors have been deployed to this area. They're going to monitor and oversee the company's response to the incident, and they're going to determine the impact and extend of the fire and release," Neufeld said.

 

The NEB has also activated its emergency operations centre in Calgary, he said.

 

It will work closely with the Transportation Safety Board, which is responsible for investigating the incident, Neufeld said.

 
 
 
 

MOST RESIDENTS ALLOWED HOME AFTER PIPELINE EXPLOSION NEAR PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.

 
 

Most residents of a northern B.C. community are being allowed back into their homes after a gas pipeline ruptured, sparking a massive blaze.

 

RCMP say the explosion happened at about 5:30 p.m. PT Tuesday and forced about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation from their homes.

 

Officials say it was from an Enbridge natural gas pipeline in Shelley, B.C., about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George.

 

Police say residences within several kilometres were evacuated as a precaution, but the evacuation zone has now been reduced to residences within a one kilometre radius of the explosion site.

 

They say there are no injuries and no reported damage other than to the pipeline itself.

 
 
 
 

The gas supply has been shut down and police say there is no indication of a cause at this point in time.

 

National Energy Board spokesman Tom Neufeld said the fire was along Enbridge's Westcoast main line, which falls under the board's jurisdiction.

 

The Westcoast Transmission System transports natural gas produced in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to consumers in B.C. and, through interconnecting pipelines, other Canadian provinces and the United States.

 

"NEB inspectors have been deployed to this area. They're going to monitor and oversee the company's response to the incident, and they're going to determine the impact and extent of the fire and release," Neufeld said.

 

The agency will work closely with the Transportation Safety Board, which is responsible for investigating the incident, he said.

 

 

CANADA PIPELINE BLAST RISKS WASHINGTON NATURAL GAS SHORTAGE
 
 
 
A pipeline explosion in British Columbia risks cutting off the flow of Canadian natural gas to Washington State, and companies are urging customers to conserve.
 
 
The blast Tuesday evening shut down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver.
 
 
Doug Stout of Fortis BC said Wednesday that 85 per cent of the gas his company feeds to homes and businesses is carried by the twinned pipeline that runs from northern British Columbia to the United States border south of Vancouver.
 
 
"There is a potential impact on Seattle and north of Seattle," Stout said.
 
 
The damaged Enbridge pipeline connects to the Northwest Pipeline system, which feeds Puget Sound Energy in Washington State and Northwest Natural Gas in Portland.
 
 
Washington State-based Puget Sound Energy is urging its 750,000 customers to lower their thermostats and limit hot water use at least through Wednesday.
 
 
No one was hurt when the fireball lit up the sky near the community of Shelley, British Columbia and forced about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation from their homes.
 
 
Witness Terry Teegee said the blast shook the area at about 5:30 p.m.
 
 
"We thought it might have been a train crash or a low-flying jet," he said.
 
 
Zachary Semotiuk said he saw a "huge flash," followed by a "raging fire," that was easily visible above the tree line from several kilometres away.
 
 
Chief Dominic Frederick with the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation said Enbridge contacted him shortly after the blast.
 
 
"They had told me there was gas building up in the underground. For some reason or another the gas had stopped flowing and it built up and it just exploded," Frederick said.
 
 
As many as 700,000 customers in northern British Columbia, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island could be directly affected by a shortage, Stout said.
 
 
Stout urged another 300,000 customers in the Okanagan and southeastern British Columbia, to conserve even though their natural gas comes from Alberta.
 
 
Currently Fortis has reserves still in the pipeline south of Prince George, in its liquefied natural gas storage tanks in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, and there is some gas flowing from Alberta through a pipeline in southern British Columbia, Stout said.
 
 
Fortis expected to receive updates on the situation as Transportation Safety Board investigators and National Energy Board inspectors arrived to assess the damage and attempt to determine a cause.
 
 
The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, Stout said.

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