A natural gas pipeline explosion near Otterburne, Man., 50 kilometres south of Winnipeg, has left thousands without heat as temperatures drop to -20 C, or -34 C with the wind chill.
A fire is out after burning for more than 12 hours at the site of a natural gas pipeline explosion near Otterburne, Man., about 50 kilometres south of Winnipeg. But officials say there are now natural gas outages affecting as many as 4,000 people in nearby communities, where temperatures dipped to near -20 C overnight.
The Rural Municipality of Hanover declared a state of local emergency Saturday afternoon in a release that said the outage was expected to last 24 to 72 hours.
The trouble began early Saturday when RCMP responded around 1:05 a.m. to a “loud explosion.”
Witnesses who live close to the scene said it was massive. Paul Rawluk lives nearby and drove to the site.
“As we got closer, we could see these massive 200 to 300 metre high flames just shooting out of the ground and it literally sounded like a jet plane,” he said. “And that’s the thing that really got us, was the sound of it.”
He said it was hard to describe the scale.
“Massive, like absolutely massive,” he said. “The police were by [Highway] 59 and you could just see little cars out there and you could see in comparison how big the flame was. It was just literally two to 300 metres in the air. And bright, I mean lit up the sky.”
The pipeline is owned by TransCanada, the same company that later lost a lawsuit in Nebraska for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.