Brule residents were free to return to their homes mere hours after an evacuation of the hamlet due to a natural gas leak on Friday, Dec. 13.
A contractor working on the Brule Community Hall redevelopment project inadvertently struck and ruptured an unknown gas line around 9:30 in the morning, stated Christopher Read, director of community services for Yellowhead County.
“It was a construction incident, unfortunately that can occur. It was a calm response but it was a measured response,” said Read.
Fire departments from both Yellowhead County and Hinton, alongside RCMP members, responded to the call to evacuate the community.
Gas to the hamlet was turned off for safety while crews isolated and repaired the leak.
An emergency reception centre was set up at the Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre in the meantime where residents could register, in accordance to the emergency response plan between Hinton and Yellowhead County.
An emergency evacuation registration and information line was also established.
“I made two calls and all of the Town of Hinton staff were immediately responsive. The reception centre was set up so quickly with incredibly happy staff who were knowledgeable and knew what to do,” said Read.
“It is very much a gold star for the Town of Hinton response and Yellowhead County appreciates and thanks them extremely.”
Read later confirmed that half a dozen people registered, and that the whole hamlet was evacuated.
The order was lifted amid reports the leak had been contained at 11:45 am. Once residents returned home, emergency services personnel and Yellowhead Gas Co-Op Ltd. personnel made themselves available to help relight furnaces and water heaters.
One resident, Kate Hanson, said it took about two hours for the furnace to come back on once the order was lifted.
Neither she nor her husband were at home during the evacuation but Alberta Emergency Response staff was in contact with Hanson about her dogs still on the property.
Most residents didn’t have their gas back on until later that afternoon.
According to reports by the Edmonton Journal, Yellowhead Gas Co-Op Ltd. confirmed a contractor was installing new services for the Brule Community Centre when the low-pressure gas line was struck.