A landscaper using a shovel in the garden is believed to have struck and cracked open the FortisBC gas line which shut down Oak Bay Avenue for about one hour on Wednesday at approximately 1 p.m.
Fortis, Oak Bay Fire, Oak Bay Police and B.C. Ambulance Services all responded to the gas leak.
One witness said he heard hissing gas when he was evacuated from his building (two buildings were evacuated in total), which was at the source of the leak in the 2000-block between Elgin Road and Mitchell Street.
“We believe it was a landscaper or a gardener using a hand tool, likely a shovel, that hit the line,” said Oak Bay Fire Chief Darren Hughes.
FortisBC spokesperson Jas Basweja said there is a set of steps FortisCB take when one of the systems is damaged to restore service.
“Generally, allowing the gas to vent into the atmosphere is often the safest solution that impacts the fewest number of customers,” he said. “Approximately 90 per cent of damages to our gas lines can be prevented by following safe excavation practices.”
This incident serves as a great reminder that the majority of damages to our system are preventable – always contact BC 1 Call before you dig, 1-888-822-6555, even if it’s a hand held shovel in the front yard.