A natural gas line break in West Trail cut service to about 580 houses on Thursday (Aug. 19) evening.
The gas line rupture occurred at a construction site on Victoria St. just after 4 p.m. Emergency crews blocked access to the area, evacuating 16 homes near downtown Trail, with the shutdown of the service affecting most residents.
Seven first responders from Station 374 Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire and Rescue attended along with BC ambulance service, and technicians from FortisBC.
“We’ve been working every day to restore gas and it takes a while because when we shutdown the system we have to visit each of the homes to turn gas back on at the meter and relight all the appliances,” FortisBC communications advisor Diana Sorace told the Trail Times.
FortisBC began work on site repairs immediately after the incident. As of Saturday, there were 86 homes that still needed service, but crews finished the job, restoring all gas service just after 11 a.m. on Sunday.
“Everyone is now restored, however, there are some people that weren’t home, so they have a tag to call us and we’ll come and restore them. It looks like we’ve made contact with everyone minus 160 homes that we’ve left tags, so they’re either not home or they are away so they are just asked to call us and we will come back to restore service.”
The tag left by FortisBC service crews provides information on relighting appliances, and customers are asked to contact the emergency number at 1-877-711-8877 to arrange for FortisBC to restore service.
“Crews worked pretty tirelessly for the last couple days to restore customers and everyone as of 11:09 a.m. should be restored now.”
The FortisBC spokesperson confirmed that a contractor caused the damage to the natural gas system that knocked out service, and reminds residents, again, to “Call before you dig.”
“It’s really important to note that these incidents are preventable so when people are working, excavating, or doing any kind of ground disturbance they should call BC-1 Call before digging to obtain the information on gas lines, then these things would be preventable.”
Natural gas is odorless, however, the natural-gas provider adds a harmless odorant called mercaptan to natural gas to create the unmistakable smell of rotten eggs.
If you smell rotten eggs or hear the sound of escaping natural gas, stop what you’re doing, go outside and dial 9-1-1 or call FortisBC’s 24-hour emergency line.