Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

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

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

Combined, they supply 85 per cent of all natural gas used province-wide.

"As a result of the incident affecting the Enbridge pipeline that feeds our system we are anticipating decreased energy flow and potential loss of service", notes the utility provider in an alert issued early Wednesday morning.

"Approximately 100 people in the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation in the vicinity have been evacuated as a precaution".

But by turning off the pipelines, the energy company said there could be a disruption in gas supply to customers in the Pacific Northwest region.

An explosion and fire in a pipeline that provides natural gas to about 1.5 million customers in British Columbia, Washington state and OR has prompted a plea from energy companies to conserve fuel as Indigenous leaders called for assurances of safety.

The natural gas shortage itself affects customers throughout British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

Residents previously evacuated can return home.

The blast Tuesday evening shut down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver.

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"Anybody who consumes natural gas, we're asking you to cut back to as little as possible and help us work through this situation to everybody's benefit", Stout said.

RCMP confirm a pipeline explosion is to blame for a large fire that burned 13 kilometres north of Prince George.

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

"I could feel the heat through the windows", he said.

The ruptured line has had an impact south of the border, as Puget Sound Energy is advising its customers to limit natural gas use. "Health-care facilities are considered among the highest priorities for Fortis B.C. We have not been contacted or asked to reduce our usage at this time, which would be standard practice through our agreement with the company", she said.

Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes says a full investigation into what caused the rupture is underway and the company is working with nearby communities to maintain public safety.

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

National Energy Board spokesman Tom Neufeld said the fire was along Enbridge's Westcoast main line, which falls under the board's jurisdiction. "For some reason or another the gas had stopped flowing and it built up and it just exploded", Frederick said.

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