Fire department responds to natural gas leak
Thursday, Mar 16, 2017 06:00 am
Quick response by the Airdrie Fire Department (AFD) and ATCO Gas to a natural gas leak March 6 kept the noxious material from spreading, according to AFD Deputy Fire Chief Garth Rabel.
“ATCO was on scene when we arrived so they had been called to scene before our arrival,” Rabel said. “Once we arrived, we touched base with their emergency response team and supported their efforts.”
The leak occurred at approximately 1 p.m. on Bayview Way S.W. A construction worker digging a trench with a hand shovel hit the 15-millimetre gas line, releasing a small amount of gas into the atmosphere.
ATCO Gas workers were the first on the scene, according to a spokesperson for the company who declined to provide her name.
“They stopped gas flow and they did that to the service line which means that only the one house was impacted,” she said. “By squeezing the service line, they were able to ensure no other customers were without natural gas. Once they were able to stop the flow to that distribution line, they were able to repair the line.”
According to Rabel, the incident took place in a residential area currently under construction.
“Just as a precaution, our team took five homes, roughly 10 members of the public, out of the potential of harm’s way,” he said. “Once everything was concluded, those families were contacted and allowed to return home.”
As part of their procedure, AFD members took air quality readings in the vicinity of the leak to determine when it was safe for residents to return and there was no longer a danger to the public. There were no injuries and no risk to the public at any time, according to the ATCO spokesperson.
Checking the location of utilities, including natural gas lines, before digging is something all Airdronians are encouraged to do by ATCO. This used to be called call before you dig, but is now referred to as click before you dig by the company.
“More people are actually going online or downloading the app from Alberta One Call,” said the ATCO spokesperson. “As a utility we definitely put out that message as well.
“If you’re doing any sort of digging, whether you’re a contractor or a homeowner, you should be going to clickbeforeyoudig.com to request for a locate. That will tell you where your gas line is. It gives you instructions on how to hand expose a line as well — it gives specific information around how close you should dig, and then once you’re within one metre, how you should go about hand exposing a line.”
Once a resident receives information about where utilities are located on their property, that information is good for 14 days.