Police evacuate 500 residents from north Burnaby after gas leak

An underground gas leak on Lougheed Highway in north Burnaby, B.C., forced the evacuation of 500 residents from the area nearby Monday night, as crews continued to investigate the cause.

Terasen Gas crews turned off five valves Monday night in order to stop an underground gas leak on Lougheed Highway in north Burnaby.
(CBC)
The Burnaby Fire Department said a high concentration of natural gas showed up in the area, prompting the evacuation.

“There is a possibility of [explosion] but as I say, we got the area pretty well surrounded here right now, and stabilized,” George Whitehurst, the assistant fire chief, told CBC News Monday night.

The leak appears to be located under the road, he said.

Joyce Wagenaar, corporate communications manager of Terasen Gas, said the rupture involved a 15-centimetre pipeline, but the leak had been brought under control.

RCMP say the Burnaby Fire Department first received reports of people smelling gas along Lougheed Highway near Lake City Way at around 5:10 p.m. local time.
(CBC)
“We’ve isolated a piece of pipe where the gas was leaking to make sure the situation is safe,” she said Monday night.

“Now we are going to investigate the cause of the leak and our crews will be excavating … to determine what repairs need to take place.”

Burnaby RCMP said the evacuated area is extensive — from Lougheed Highway in the north to Government Road in the south and from Production Way to the east to Bainbridge Avenue to the west.

RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Alexandra Mulvihill told CBC News the Burnaby Fire Department first received reports of people smelling gas at around 5:10 p.m.

George Whitehurst, assistant fire chief for the Burnaby Fire Department, says a high concentration of natural gas showed up in the area, prompting the evacuation Monday night.
(CBC)
Fire crews and members of Terasen Gas arrived on the scene and then called the RCMP for further assistance.

“Currently, we are still trying to determine the exact cause, the source [and] more importantly, to get the people out who … are in the hot zone,” Mulvihill said.

Crews from Terasen Gas turned off five valves Monday night in order to stop the gas from leaking, she said.

“Then, it could just be a matter of going in to determine the gas that did leak, where it’s gone [and] how far,” she said.

Arrangements were made for the residents under evacuation orders to stay at Cameron Recreation Centre Monday night, Mulvihill said.

The closure of the Lougheed Highway, between Production Way and Lake City Way, also brought a halt to SkyTrain service in the area in the evening.

Transit authority TransLink said SkyTrain service from Holdom through to the Lougheed Town Centre stations were cancelled in the evening.

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