1-26-14 – Location – Otterburne, Manitoba – Incident – Pipeline Explosion

  Nearly 4,000 residents across southern Manitoba are still without natural gas, one day after a pipeline exploded near the community of Otterburne, Man.


Manitoba Hydro said in a statement Sunday that nine communities in the area would be without natural gas for up to 72 hours as emergency crews worked to repair the damaged pipeline.

The explosion, which occurred early Saturday morning, sent flames shooting into the air and led to the evacuation of five homes. There were no injuries or damage to homes and property in the area.

Fire fills the sky after a pipeline explosion in Otterburne, Man. on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. 

The rupture has also affected customers in the United States, with residents in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota being asked to conserve their gas supply.

Manitoba Hydro said it did not have an estimate on how long the interruptions would last.

The outages come as Environment Canada issues a blizzard warning for much of southern Manitoba, with blowing snow and frigid temperatures making things worse for residents without heat. The weather agency says temperatures in the region could feel as cold as -39C with the wind chill on Sunday.

Officials in the town of Niverville, one of the communities affected by the gas outage, say they have opened two warming centres for families and residents looking to stay warm and have requested additional cots and blankets from the province.

Some communities have also received mobile gas-supply services to help heat local centres, but other mobile services have been stuck at the Saskatchewan-Manitoba due to treacherous weather conditions.

Another of the affected communities, the rural municipality of Hanover, declared a state of local emergency Sunday as a result of the gas shutoff.

The massive fire had continued to burn throughout Saturday as crews worked to slowly bleed off the line and burn any remaining natural gas. But TransCanada spokesperson Davis Sheremata said the fire had been extinguished by Sunday afternoon.

Officials from the National Energy Board and the Transportation Safety Board visited the site of the explosion on Sunday and are inspecting the pipe.

The cause of the fire has not been determined and officials say there is currently no cost estimate on the damage.