SaskEnergy is speaking out about the preliminary findings of its investigation into a potentially explosive natural gas scare in Saskatoon.

'You've got steel on steel, you've got oxygen in there' - Dave Burdeniuk, SaskEnergy 

It happened a week ago along Preston Avenue, when a construction crew working for the city cut through the line. The gas line break forced the evacuation of homes and a nearby grocery store.

Today, SaskEnergy spokesperson Dave Burdeniuk confirmed that this was a major gas line that was well marked with warning flags and paint markings, and that the private contractor responsible for damaging the line may be faced with having to pay tens of thousands of dollars to cover the cost of repairs.

Burdeniuk said it had potential to be an explosive situation.

"This is a really big line, and at that point of impact, when you've got the gas under pressure coming out, you've got steel on steel, you've got oxygen in there, that's where you could have had an ignition point."

Explosion and fire not the only concern for SaskEnergy 

Burdeniuk said that even as the immediate danger of an explosion and fire eased, the struggle for the Crown utility continued. He said the focus then shifted to keeping people’s furnaces operating and their homes warm.  

"We didn't want to lose service in -30 C windchills,” he said

Meanwhile, the City of Saskatoon confirms that the contractor was doing sewer work for the city.

Neither SaskEnergy, nor the city, would name the private contractor involved.