Natural gas was leaking through hole in street: Orillia fire chief
Natural gas was leaking through hole in street: Orillia fire chief
June 8, 2017
Orillia Today
Article by: Frank Matys
 
Investigation underway into caus

Emergency officials say natural gas from a leaking pipeline was seeping through a hole in the asphalt at the intersection of Mississaga Street West and Andrew Street Wednesday evening. A crew is working to repair the pipeline. - Frank Matys/Metroland

 
Firefighters got more than they bargained for while responding to a report of a person trapped in an elevator during a power outage at Orillia’s library Wednesday night.
 
Disembarking from a fire truck along Andrew Street at Mississaga, the incident commander encountered a group of youth who said they smelled gas.
Firefighters did, too.
 
An investigation revealed that natural gas was seeping through a hole in the asphalt at the intersection.
 
The block was immediately cordoned off and the area evacuated.
 
“It could have been a lot worse,” said fire chief Ralph Dominelli.
 
Gas was shut off to the area as a safety precaution and will remain so until Union Gas has repaired the four-inch pipeline, which has a hole in it.
 
Utility services manager Moe Lapointe said the cause of the leak had yet to be determined, adding that it was unknown as to whether the leak was related to the power outage.
 
Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Lapointe said it was unknown how long customers in the area would be without gas service.
 
“We don’t have a specified … time,” he added. “We are still investigating.”
 
Approximately 4,800 customers were affected by the power outage, primarily in the downtown and southeast sections of the city.
 
Power was returned to the majority of customers shortly before 11 p.m.
 
A small area near the intersection remained without power Thursday to allow utility crews to safely repair the pipeline.
 
“Once Union Gas is done with their work, we will be doing some additional testing on our high-voltage underground cables just to try to identify what the exact root cause of the power failure was,” said Grant Hipgrave, interim president and CEO of Orillia Power Corp.
 
The city’s pollution control division purged the storm and sanitary sewers of any natural gas that had accumulated during the leak, said Kyle Mitchell, manager of source protection and operations.
 
Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital was unaffected by the power outage but was forced to switch to diesel to heat the hospital’s boilers, which are normally powered by natural gas.