Nfld. & Labrador

Bonavista propane leak under control

Parts of a town on Newfoundland's northeast coast had to be evacuated Sunday afternoon because of a propane leak.
A leak in a propane tank at a Bonavista service station caused a partial evacuation of the town. (CBC)

Parts of a town on Newfoundland's northeast coast had to be evacuated Sunday afternoon because of a propane leak.

"[It was] very, very hectic. And nerve wracking too," said Keith Shirran, the assistant deputy fire chief of Bonavista, Newfoundland.

He was one of the first people on the scene when when a large propane tank at an Irving station in the town emptied itself on Sunday afternoon, causing a partial evacuation of the town.  

RCMP officials said a control mechanism at the Irving station failed, which caused the tank to empty and created a three-metre white cloud of propane around the tank.

Shirran said that cloud of propane gas was very volatile.

"It is highly explosive, all it takes is a spark, just any old spark — an ignition spark from a car, a cigarette," said Shirran. 

Emergency officials evacuated the service station, a couple of nearby homes, and the parking lots of several nearby business.

They also put the local hospital and seniors home on standby for an evacuation.

Shirran said firefighters sprayed a continuous mist of water on the faulty propane tank, diluting the gas and dispersing it on the ground.

The area was closed to the public for several hours, but no one was injured.