Estevan fire crews were called to a gas leak Tuesday afternoon.
The call came in at about 4 p.m. from the area close to the Days Inn hotel.
"We were called to a gas line ruptured leak that was occurring in the central area of the city in the 1300-block of Ninth Street. Crews did arrive on scene to find a construction crew already present as well as SaskEnergy representatives on scene. It was found that there was a ruptured gas line that was leaking uncontrollably at that time," said Estevan Fire Chief Dale Feser.
In an email to the Mercury SaskEnergy said that "Tuesday evening, a third-party contractor hit a gas main along Ninth Street, west of Thirteenth Avenue in Estevan.The incident affected two apartment buildings and the Days Inn."
People in the area could sense the rotten smell typically associated with a leak. While natural gas doesn't have an odour, when in service lines, it has a special chemical added to it for safety.
"They add that odour to detect leaks when they are occurring. So there was a very, very strong odour of it. However, it's very detectable in very small concentrations as well. It's hard to gauge the size and scale of the leak just by the smell of the rotten gas. But it's definitely a key indicator that there is something that's occurring," Feser explained.
Firefighters and SaskEnergy crews were working together to stop the leak as fast as possible and ensure the public's safety. Fire crews set up barricades to keep people out of a zone where the leak occurred, as well as monitoring stations in a hotel and in a three-storey apartment complex, on either side of the gas leak, to ensure that there were no explosive environments present, Feser said.
"The hotel staff and management were briefed on the situation. So that way they could build a plan together should the situation escalate in order to evacuate the building. But at the time, it was not needed."
Firefighters were able to keep the situation at a safe level as SaskEnergy had repair crews coming in to fix the leak.
"They did have to do an excavation remotely from where the leak had occurred, and use a hydro-vac truck to gain access to line and effectively do a pinch and secure the gas leak and prevent it from continuing to leak uncontrollably," Feser said.
The leak was brought under control at around 6.30 p.m. SaskEnergy repair crews came in to fix the break. There were service disruptions to some of the customers in the area. SaskEnergy confirmed that as of early Wednesday morning, all gas service was returned to impacted customers.
"SaskEnergy has completed repairs to the gas line. Further repairs are required to return the road to normal condition. SaskEnergy reminds the digging community to follow safe digging practices. For more information, visit www.sask1stcall.com/," said Shirley Xie, SaskEnergy government and media relations senior communications officer.
Feser praised all emergency responders who worked collaboratively to resolve the problem.
"Great working environment, working with our SaskEnergy representatives to ensure that everybody's safety was paramount in this and at no time was there any extreme danger to the public, it was kept to a manageable level," Feser said.