Pipeline Blast in Manitoba

Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 04:01 PM gHale

Extreme winter weather was making things difficult, but energy is on the way to heat about 4,000 people in the province of Manitoba in Canada who have no access to gas after an explosion Saturday along a pipeline sent flames up to 1,000 feet in the air.

The TransCanada Pipelines valve site near St. Pierre-Jolys that runs through the region exploded, caught fire and continued to burn unabated for about 12 hours, officials said. Investigators are still looking into the cause of the blast, however, there is no evidence of foul play.

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The explosion occurred about 31 miles south of Winnipeg. The natural gas pipeline burst into flames shortly after midnight, and that the flames reached heights of several hundred meters. There were no injuries in the incident.

Canada’s National Energy Board decided to evacuate the region as a precaution, officials said.

The explosion prevented TransCanada Pipelines from supplying natural gas to Manitoba Hydro, which informed customers on Saturday that service could be off for at least a day.

High officials in the area say that, all things considered, it will be some 24 – 72 hours before people once again have access to natural gas supplies. To make matters worse, the lack of natural gas hitting the province comes at a time when local temperatures were dropping to -68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Until workers restore natural gas services, they will transport natural gas to the area.

“TransCanada wants Manitoba Hydro customers affected by the natural gas outage to know that our staff are doing everything possible to determine the cause of the fire and get the pipeline repaired and regular natural gas service restored quickly, safely and in accordance with regulations,” the company said in a statement Sunday.

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