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Victoria homes evacuated after damaged gas line produces 'explosive-level' readings

FortisBC says it received a report of a damaged gas line around 11:30 a.m. Jan. 23, 2023. (CTV News) FortisBC says it received a report of a damaged gas line around 11:30 a.m. Jan. 23, 2023. (CTV News)

Several Victoria residents were removed from their homes on Monday morning after a damaged gas line prompted an evacuation north of the Fernwood neighbourhood.

FortisBC says crews were called to the 2500-block of Avebury Avenue around 11:30 a.m. for reports of a damaged gas line.

Victoria Fire acting battalion Chief Todd Harris says he believes plumbers in the area were digging at a home when a gas main was hit and damaged.

"The gas leaking filled two or three houses down the end of the block, and unfortunately we had a very explosive-level reading on our gas meters," he said.

Several blocks in the area were closed to traffic for more than two hours as crews assessed the situation.

Firefighters, police and workers with BC Hydro and FortisBC were at the site.

FortisBC recommended that power be shut down in the neighbourhood, leading to a blackout for about 1,800 BC Hydro customers in the area.

Power was restored to surrounding houses and nearby blocks reopened about two hours later, though houses directly beside the area were still in the dark Monday afternoon.

Around 1:45 p.m., FortisBC said crews were working on repairs to the gas line, and that about 45 service outages occurred because of the damage.

Once repairs are finished, FortisBC will go to each affected house and turn the gas back on.

Harris says the next steps are to ensure that the gas has dissipated from each affected house and that they have all been ventilated.

Some pets were inside the affected homes but appear unharmed, he said.

Harris encourages anyone who smells a gas leak, which resembles the smell of rotten eggs, to call their local fire department and FortisBC immediately.

"Today was a perfect example, somebody called right away," he said.

He's also grateful for the patience of community members while the electricity was cut to make repairs.

"The safety of the few definitely was our main concern and we wanted to protect this area and do everything we could so there wasn't an explosion," he said. Top Stories

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