All clear following gas line break in Saskatoon

An all-clear has been issued for a Saskatoon neighbourhood where a high-pressure natural gas line was ruptured by a contractor digging in the area Thursday afternoon.

Natural gas scare resolved by 8 p.m.

Heavy equipment was brought in so repair crews could reach a natural gas leak on Preston Avenue S. near Main Street. (CBC )

A gas leak that affected homes and businesses in the Grosvenor Park and Greystone Heights neighourhoods came to an end last night around 8 p.m. CST.

Officials gave the all-clear after fixing a high-pressure natural gas line that was ruptured by a contractor digging in the area Thursday afternoon.

Officials from SaskEnergy said their crews were able to isolate the leaking line and vent the remaining gas early Thursday evening.

They said a third-party contractor working in the area of Preston Avenue South and Main Street hit and broke the 30-cm diameter line shortly after 2 p.m.

Note from SaskEnergy:

"SaskEnergy is working to maintain natural gas service to the area with as minimal disruption to customer service as possible; however, should anyone experience interruption of natural gas service they are encouraged to call SaskEnergy at 1-888-700-0427."

For a while, gas readings were so high that six nearby apartment buildings and a Superstore grocery store were cleared for several hours.

"Gas is no longer escaping from the damaged line and that section of the pipeline has been isolated from the rest of the system," SaskEnergy said in a release around 7:30 p.m. "SaskEnergy technicians and Saskatoon firefighters have conducted gas readings in all the evacuated buildings and determined that there is no natural gas from this incident inside these facilities."

No injuries were reported as a result of the leak

Officials said apartments were vented, the air quality in each suite was checked and people should be back in their homes by about 8 p.m.

Mary Blum, one of the people who had to leave their homes, said the experience was unsettling.

"I think I'll be concerned when I go back and try to sleep and wondering, 'Is it going to blow up?'" Blum said, although she punctuated her observation with a laugh. "I'm sure I'll have that feeling when I go back into the building."

Fire and police say a high-pressure natural gas line leak on Preston Avenue has led to a shut down of the street, between 8th and 14th, and the evacuation of six nearby apartment buildings and a grocery store. (Google )

Traffic in the area was disrupted for several hours while the repairs were made. SaskEnergy said crews would be at it through the night.

Valves needed to be closed

The SaskEnergy workers had to locate and close three valves in order to isolate the damaged line.

Once the valves were closed, another 40 minutes were needed in order for the gas in the line to escape.

A nearby church, the Redeemer Lutheran, had coffee ready for people who needed a temporary place to stay. About 12 showed up.

Nearby work on sewer

According to SaskEnergy, the contractor who hit the pipeline was excavating for work related to the city's water and sewer lines.


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