Pipeline ruptures, sparks massive fire north of Prince George, B.C.

Lester Mason
October 11, 2018

The rupture occurred 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.

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

The spike could last one to two weeks, but it depends on how long the pipeline is out of service.

"Turn down your thermostat if you are in a cold spot".

"This is a unique situation", the Premier said at an unrelated media event in Vancouver on Wednesday.

Tuesday's explosion affected the two main Enbridge lines used to move gas into FortisBC's gas system to serve customers in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

Stout urged another 300,000 customers in the Okanagan and southeastern B.C., to conserve even though their natural gas comes from Alberta.

"We are asking them to cut back, too, because we can flow some of that gas past them and down here to the Lower Mainland".

"We're not going to move away because of one explosion", Frederick said.

The problems have the potential to flow south of the border.

Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, predicted gasoline prices will rise over the next week because the explosion has knocked out oil refineries in Washington state that rely on natural gas to power portions of their facilities that produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The electricity and gas company FortisBC asked all British Columbians to turn down their thermostats and reduce natural gas use on other appliances on Tuesday.

"About 70 per cent of customers could be impacted here", said Douglas Stout, vice-president of external relations with FortisBC.

Prince George RCMP said an incandescent orange fireball that could be seen for kilometres at approximately 5:30 p.m. PT was from an Enbridge natural gas pipeline exploding in Shelley, about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George.

"A cause will be determined following an investigation of the incident", Barnes said.

The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, said Stout.

About 100 people have been evacuated from the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation as a precaution.

An evacuation order had been downgraded Wednesday to the handful of homes near the explosion site.

While everyone got out of the area safely, Teegee said it had been a stressful day that had taken an emotional toll.

"We sort of trained for it. because of the wildfires", Frederick said of the speedy evacuation.

A pipeline explosion has been confirmed to be the reason for a large fire outside of Prince George.

- With files from CKPG.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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