Pipeline ruptures, sparks massive fire north of Prince George, B.C.

Pipeline ruptures, sparks massive fire north of Prince George, B.C.

The utility is asking customers across the province to "avoid non-essential use of natural gas" as it expects a decrease in energy flow and a potential loss of service for up to 700,000 customers.

Several homes were evacuated after a pipeline ruptured and caused a large fire near Prince George, B.C. Tuesday.

Doug Stout, Fortis BC vice-president of external relations, said Wednesday that 85 per cent of the gas his company feeds to homes and businesses is carried by the twinned pipeline that runs from northern B.C.to the United States border south of Vancouver.

Terry Teegee, Assembly of First Nations regional chief, said he's still shaken by what he witnessed outside his home on the Lhedli T'enneh First Nation reserve near the site of the explosion.

Gas prices could jump in the Pacific Northwest due to a natural gas pipeline explosion.

A massive pipeline explosion in British Columbia risks cutting off the flow of Canadian natural gas to Washington State, and companies are urging customers to conserve.

The natural gas shortage itself affects customers throughout British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

The explosion happened only about two kilometres from the reserve, forcing residents to quickly flee, he said.

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"I could feel the heat through the windows", he said.

The blast Tuesday evening shut down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver. Most residents were being allowed back into their homes Wednesday.

"We're very concerned about this", Hall said, adding the focus now would be to keep affected residents informed about the situation.

The ruptured line has had an impact south of the border, as Puget Sound Energy is advising its customers to limit natural gas use. "The most significant impact right now is what we are doing in terms of precautions", said B.C. Minister of Energy Michelle Mungall.

Fortis BC has asked any customers who use natural gas across the province to turn off their thermostats and reduce the use of all other natural gas appliances.

National Energy Board spokesman Tom Neufeld said the fire was along Enbridge's Westcoast main line, which falls under the board's jurisdiction.

"The incident area has been cordoned off to maintain public safety". "For some reason or another the gas had stopped flowing and it built up and it just exploded", Frederick said.

The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, said Stout.

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