Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Enbridge pipeline ruptures, sparks fire near Prince George

Enbridge pipeline ruptures, sparks fire near Prince George

RCMP confirm a pipeline explosion is to blame for a large fire that burned 13 kilometres north of Prince George.

An explosion and fire in a pipeline that provides natural gas to about 1.5 million customers in British Columbia, Washington state and OR has prompted a plea from energy companies to conserve fuel as Indigenous leaders called for assurances of safety.

According to analysts at the company GasBuddy, oil refineries in Washington state rely on natural gas to "power portions of their facilities that produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel".

While the flames have been put out the two major gas pipelines remain out of service and Enbridge says it isn't sure when they will be back up and running.

Drivers are urged to buy only the fuel they need to limit the scope of the price increases. "I would expect widespread and significant inconvenience and probably some impacts on the electrical system as people end up using stove tops to heat water".

Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes told The Canadian Press company crews were working to assess the situation Tuesday night.

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As many as 700,000 customers in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island could be affected.

"We ask all students, staff, and faculty please anticipate chilly mornings and evenings and to dress warmly - including gloves, hats, and coats where necessary".

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

"It's really grown in the last four years or so", he said, noting Fortis has told him they have connected more homes in Victoria in the last year to natural gas than in any other year.

It damaged the company's primary natural gas pipeline linking the Fort Nelson area to Vancouver and south to another 750,000 customers in the northwest United States. While the ruptured pipeline carries natural gas, chances are that anti-pipeline activists will waste no time in using the incident in their case against pipeline.

Enbridge says the explosion happened after one of its natural gas pipelines suffered a rupture around 5:45 p.m.

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