'Migrating' gas caused house explosion, fires

An explosion and fire at a Regina house Monday was caused by natural gas that drifted over from a broken gas line several houses away, the Regina fire department says.

An explosion and fire at a Regina house Monday was caused by natural gas that drifted over from a broken gas line several houses away, the Regina fire department says.

The blast at 1004 Shannon Rd. in the Whitmore Park neighbourhood sent an elderly couple to hospital with burns and other injuries.

Two other fires, on Sunday at 1000 Shannon Rd. and on Monday morning at 27 Norris Rd., were also caused by gas leaking from a breached line behind 38 Woodlawn Pl., the fire department said. 

"The gas migrated until it found an ignition source at each location," the department said in a news release.

SaskEnergy spokesman Ron Podbielski said the gas line behind Woodlawn Place became disconnected, although it's not clear why.

"With the time of year, ground shifting could certainly be part of what caused the leak," Podbielski said. "We want to go back and just ensure that that is likely what is."

Gas will migrate, following the path of least resistance into the atmosphere, and that could explain the distance between the leak and the house that exploded, he said.

SaskEnergy is still investigating the blast.

The condition of the man and the woman Tuesday wasn't known.

On the other side of the house that exploded, 1008 Shannon Rd., there was also some fire damage.

According to the Regina fire department, damage at the houses totals an estimated $750,000: $400,000 at 1004 Shannon Rd., $100,000 at 1008 Shannon Rd., $150,000 at 1000 Shannon Rd. and $100,000 at Norris Rd. 

More than 60 people were evacuated from their homes Monday morning, but in the afternoon they were allowed back to their homes. SaskEnergy says people should call 1-888-700-0427 if they smell natural gas.