Aside from gagging from the sour odour, no one became ill after a broken Pacific Northern Gas line leaked gas from the ground.
PNG technicians and the Smithers Fire Department were quickly on the scene when a contractor nicked the PNG line at approximately noon on Monday. (Oct. 24) The rupture happened in the land between the Smithers Library and Courthouse.
“When we arrived there we saw what appeared to be a contractor who was doing some groundwork…hit a PNG gas line which turned out to be a rather significant breach,” said Fire Chief Keith Stecko. “As a result of that…we were concerned, given the amount of natural gas that was coming out of the pipe, there might be some safety concerns.”
As a result the courthouse, library, and other nearby buildings were evacuated, but he said no one suffered any medical consequences from the leak.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, the evacuations and road closures are in place, and will be until PNG does the needed repairs, said Stecko. The road is closed within a one block perimeter from the breach.
He said the closures are to keep the public away to allow the line to be fully repaired and there is no risk to public safety.
In a statement from PNG, they said a contractor working for the Town of Smithers was excavating near the courthouse and the equipment damaged the pipeline. A PNG technician was on-scene within five minutes of the incident and the authorities were quickly notified.
“The gas system for the area has been isolated and repair work is continuing,” said Greg Weeres, for PNG. “It is currently anticipated that service will be restored this evening. [Oct. 24]”