Speaking on the Jon McComb Show on CKNW Tuesday morning, B.C. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall said the cause of the rupture remains a mystery.
“At this stage, there’s an investigation that is underway and as soon as we know, there will be, no doubt, lessons to be learned,” she said. “We’ll be implementing those lessons but at this stage, we do not know what caused the explosion.”
Prince George RCMP say the explosion happened at about 5:30 p.m. PT and forced the evacuation of about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T’enneh First Nation from their homes.
PRINCE GEORGE — Motorists beware: gas prices are set to rise across the Pacific Northwest following yesterdays pipeline explosion in Prince George.
READ MORE: Pipeline explosion near Prince George forces about 100 evacuations from First Nation community
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“[Those evacuated] were given the option late last night to go back to their homes but many chose to stay in hotel accommodations. As far as I know, they’re still there this morning but they do have the option to go home,” Hall said.
“It will depend on how they feel about going home. We leave that to them whenever we have an evacuation situation.”
“We’re anxious to see what the outcome is and what the cause is but no question, it’s resurrected the debate about pipelines and how safe they are,” added Hall.
“There’s a lot of questions in the community and we’re primarily concerned, obviously, about the safety of our residents.”
“When you have this type of incident, people are reluctant to go back to their homes and I understand that.”
UBC issues warning about disruption of natural gas supply
Troy Samkow snapped this photo of the pipeline explosion near Prince George when he was on a charter flight Tuesday evening.
Enbridge officials say they have no definitive timeline on the reparations of that ruptured pipeline, noting their crews are having difficulty accessing the area of the blast due to hot spots, as debate rages over the issue of pipelines, and their safety in this province.
Now that the pipeline is shut down, Fortis is warning about a potential loss of gas supply for its customers.
Fortis says this pipeline provides the supply of natural gas which FortisBC then distributes to its customers in Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake, the lower Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver, and Washington State.
The company is asking customers to reduce their natural gas use, such as turning down the heat, skipping the shower or maybe holding off on doing laundry.
Residents Starting To Return Home After Massive Enbridge Pipeline Explosion
FortisBC says it has about one million gas customers, and it’s estimated 70 per cent of customers may lose gas supply because of the pipeline explosion in Prince George.
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“So we do have two-thirds of PSE natural gas supply coming from B.C. and Alberta,” said spokesperson Janet Kim. “But we are hoping with conservation efforts … to get through this.”
“NEB inspectors have been deployed to this area. Theyre going to monitor and oversee the companys response to the incident, and theyre going to determine the impact and extent of the fire and release,” Neufeld said.
“Customers can set their thermostats at a lower setting, limit the use of hot water such as that hot shower or washing dishes or clothes and limits the use of natural gas and electric appliances until later tonight.”
In a statement, Enbridge says it is working in coordination with first responders, communities and with the federal, provincial and local governments, and regulators to ensure the safety of area residents near the impacted zone.
FortisBC asks customers across province to reduce gas use after pipeline rupture
They confirm an adjacent natural gas pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge has also been depressurized.
“At this time we cannot speculate about how long it will take to resolve the situation,” the company said in a release. “We appreciate everyones patience as we continue to work safely and in a manner that minimizes the interruption of gas supply to communities.”
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.
That line is located in the same right of way as its 36-inch line, which exploded outside of Shelley, B.C., about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George around 5:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday.
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.
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.
GasBuddy.com says gas prices are set to rise across the Pacific Northwest over the coming week as that incident 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.
"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.
Prince George RCMP say homes within several kilometres of Tuesday night's pipeline explosion were evacuated. Later in the night, the evacuation zone was reduced to one kilometre and residents were able to return home, CTV reports.
More than 700,000 FortisBC customers have already been asked to limit their natural gas use, and are warned that their service could be cut at any moment as a result of the blast.
About 100 members of a First Nation community were evacuated from their homes Tuesday evening after a gas pipeline ruptured near prince George, sparking a massive blaze.
The evacuees largely belonged to the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation and were asked to leave their homes as a precaution.
A pipeline explosion and rupture near Prince George will cause fuel prices to spike across the Pacific Northwest in the coming week, according to a gas price analyst.
Prince George resident Dhruv Desai said he was driving up a hill toward the nearby University of Northern British Columbia when he noticed several drivers had pulled off the road, taking photos of something.
"I was able to see it very clearly from the hill," he said. "It was huge even from this distance."
The University of Victoria says it has switched its central heating system from natural gas to diesel, and that it will also be reducing temperatures. Douglas College said it turned off the heating system at all of its campuses on Wednesday evening, while BCIT says it has turned off the heat on the north side of campus.
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.
UBC has warned that occupants and residents of a number of campus buildings could see heating, hot water and cooking gas affected by Oct. 11 “Given UBCs geographic location at the end of the line,” and is asking everyone to cut back on gas usage.
Pipeline blast brings natural gas crunch, pain at the pump
"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."
About 100 people have been evacuated from the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation as a precaution.
“However, we still need more customers to reduce their natural gas usage as much as possible for now, as we continue to work with Enbridge to confirm the impact on the system.”
"It sounded like a jet engine. We thought it might have been a train crash because there are two train tracks on each side of the river, but then we looked out back and it was this massive ball of fire," Regional Chief Terry Teegee of the nearby Takla Lake First Nation told CTV News.
"We were a bit worried when it first happened. We were all outside and wondering what to do."
Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes says the company is working to assess the situation at a pipeline explosion near Prince George and will have more information shortly.
The provincial Ministry of Environment says it has been notified of the incident and that the 900 PSI gas line is operated by Enbridge.
A pipeline explosion near Prince George happened near the rural community of Shelley, northeast of the city and near the Leidlhi Tenneh Indian Reserve.
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RCMP confirm evacuations are underway following a pipeline explosion near Prince George, CTV reports.
Few details are available, but posts on Twitter say the flames and smoke are billowing thousands of feet into the air.