Fire crews stand watch in case anything goes wrong while Fortis crews expose the gas line below the gas leak at a construction site.

Fire crews stand watch in case anything goes wrong while Fortis crews expose the gas line below the gas leak at a construction site.

Residents evacuated after gas line ruptures

There was a very loud hissing sound and foul smell when a gas line on Gibbon Street behind Cariboo Memorial Hospital was ruptured.

When a gas line blows, neighbours know it.

There was a very loud hissing sound and foul smell when a gas line on Gibbon Street behind Cariboo Memorial Hospital was ruptured during construction of an apartment complex on that street last Friday.

The Williams Lake Fire Department was called to evacuate the neighbourhood and stand by as Fortis crews were called in to repair the line.

Fire chief Des Webster said the immediate neighbourhood was evacuated as a precaution.

He said gas normally rises and dissipates but if the wind blows the gas down and into homes there is a chance a fire could be ignited by open flame or other spark.

But he said the gas was dissipating well Sept. 4 morning when Fortis crews started work to repair the lines.

The Fortis crews dug to the main lines above and below the break at the construction site and pinched off the flow of gas while the repairs were being made.

He says hearing protection is needed for those working close to the leak.

The work crew did call before starting to dig but accidents still happen, Webster said.

The fire department reported that the firefighters cleared the scene about 11:30 a.m.

Erika Schade of FortisBC said five homes were impacted.

“We received a call at 8:26 a.m. that a third party had hit the gas line and we had the gas up and running by 8 p.m.”

The number to call before you dig is 1-800-474-6886.