Attila strolls down Government Street during the Victoria Pride Parade on Sunday. More than 80 entrants were part of the parade.

Attila strolls down Government Street during the Victoria Pride Parade on Sunday. More than 80 entrants were part of the parade.

Gas leak reroutes Pride parade

Natural gas leak shuts down a downtown city block and forces course change for annual parade

Emergency services were kept busy last weekend after a natural gas leak shut down a downtown city block and forced the Victoria Pride parade to reroute.

Around 12:20 a.m. Sunday morning, Fortis B.C. received a report of a gas smell near Government and Belleville streets.

“A technician was dispatched and did discover there were high levels of natural gas underground in a manhole,” said Michael Allison, Fortis B.C. spokesman. Crews traced the leak to an underground pipe near Humboldt and Government streets, Allison said.

Gas was then shut off to 10 customers in the area from 4 a.m. to about noon.

“That allowed crews to bring in excavation equipment to dig and find the source of the leak,” Allison said.

Fire and police crews locked down the streets around the Fairmont Empress Hotel, rerouting the pride parade down Broughton and Douglas streets towards James Bay.

“Ensuring the area was safe was our number one priority,” Allison said. “Once crews found where the gas was venting from, they managed to vent it safely so that it dissipated quickly.”

The Inner Harbour area reopened shortly after 1 p.m.