Chemainus Fire Department truck blocks the entrance into downtown Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chemainus Fire Department truck blocks the entrance into downtown Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Update – Downtown Chemainus streets reopened after Thursday gas leak

FortisBC crews complete repairs along section of Cypress Street

Downtown Chemainus streets were closed for several hours Thursday following a gas line leak.

The area of Willow Street between the Chemainus United Church and the major business core by Misfits and the corresponding side streets were blocked from around 10:15 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., with Chemainus Fire Department members on the scene.

Businesses in the downtown core were not initially evacuated, but were after a couple of hours as a precautionary measure.

Once it was deemed safe for the public to be in the area and streets reopened, FortisBC crews concentrated on completing repairs along a stretch of Cypress Street.

Diana Sorace, Corporate Communications Advisor for Fortis BC, explained the leak occurred when a third party hit a gas line while working in the area.

“We would like to remind the public that the majority of damages to our system are preventable – always call or click before you dig to obtain information on the location of buried gas lines and other utilities,” noted Sorace.

“When our system is damaged, there are a number of steps that FortisBC takes to safely restore service. Our first job is to make the situation safe and determine the best way to stop the leak. Generally, allowing the gas to vent into the atmosphere is often the safest solution and impacts the fewest number of customers. The next step is to stop the leak caused by the damage and begin the necessary repairs.”

Sorace added FortisBC appreciated the patience of local residents and customers while the company worked to repair the damaged line as quickly and safely as possible.

There were no injuries or near-misses during the incident that caused the rupture.