Saskatchewan

Crews cleaning up after massive explosion in Regina Beach

Fire crews said more than 40 people have been displaced from their homes after a massive explosion levelled a home at Regina Beach on Wednesday.

Part of the community remains under state of emergency

This photo was seen on Twitter shortly after a report of an exploded house in Regina Beach, Sask. (Twitter)

The community of Regina Beach is left to pick up the pieces today after a large explosion last night. 

No one was injured but SaskEnergy and fire crews are busy cleaning up the damage. 

SaskEnergy is confirming that a natural gas leak caused the explosion that levelled a home and damaged other properties in Regina Beach on Wednesday.

Colin King, deputy commissioner of Saskatchewan's Fire Management team, said part of what caused the explosion is the fact that the ground shifted, affecting the pipes.

"There is some history of ground shift in this community and other communities around Last Mountain Lake," King said. "Number one priority is safety for all. All people involved, all people in the area and the investigation team."

Ground shifting and gas leaks have especially problematic in southern Saskatchewan. Rain and flooding during the summer affected large parts of the Qu'Appelle Valley. 

Fire crews said more than 40 people have been displaced from their homes. 

"Most have been allowed to return, as power and gas has been restored to the area and they've determined to be less of a threat," King said.

Officials expect to return water and gas service to large parts of Regina Beach by tonight. 

After such a shocking explosion, there's now renewed focus on what to do in the instance of a leak.

Dave Burdeniuk with SaskEnergy said if you have any concerns that there may be a gas leak in your home, contact them immediately. 

"We don't want you to wait," Burdeniuk said. "If you detect something, call right away. Even if it turns out to be sewer gas or if it turns out to be something other than natural gas, we'd rather give you the piece of mind."

SaskEnergy finds second leak

Today, Burdeniuk said crews have since found a second leak.

"We have been doing leak survey work throughout the night and we have now discovered a second underground leak," Burdeniuk said.

We have now discovered a second underground leak.- Dave Burdeniuk

Workers were able to dig down to the line and vent the gas.

"We have been checking and there is no gas moving underground from that location but we are now working on the second leak," he said.

SaskEnergy has been working in Regina Beach since the summer. It has identified around 30 gas leaks in the area. Other towns have had issues as well, but none as extensive as Regina Beach. 

State of emergency

Regina Beach Mayor Cameron Hart confirmed this morning that the community remains under a state of emergency.

In the immediate aftermath of the blast, homes were evacuated in an 800-metre radius of the blast epicentre. Natural gas was cut off to about 40 customers and water lines were also shut off.

Burdeniuk said the original line has been repaired and crews are now going from house to house restoring service.

Mark and Kathy Oldershaw, whose lakeside home was destroyed in the explosion, said they will rebuild.

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