Saanich firefighters were called to the public works yard on McKenzie Avenue on Nov. 18 to manage a gas leak in a propane storage unit on site. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich firefighters were called to the public works yard on McKenzie Avenue on Nov. 18 to manage a gas leak in a propane storage unit on site. (Black Press Media file photo)

Worn pipe cause of gas leak at Saanich’s public works yard

Minor gas leak a good reminder of what to do, deputy fire chief says

A minor gas leak prompted emergency response in Saanich Wednesday morning.

Just after 7 a.m. on Nov. 18, the Saanich Fire Department received a call about a gas leak at the public works yard on McKenzie Avenue.

Upon arrival, firefighters found a leak in a large propane storage pump that staff used to fill smaller tanks.

The leak, caused by a degraded pipe, was “minor in nature” but crews shut off the gas, isolated the perimeter and called the pipe fitters to repair the unit, explained Deputy Fire Chief Dan Wood. Firefighters were on their way back to the hall by 9 a.m.

READ ALSO: Mayor worries Saanich ‘poker grinches’ will steal holiday season

Wood noted that the incident was reported by a public works employee who’d smelled gas and heard the leak when they went to check the tank. He emphasized that anyone who suspects there’s a gas leak in their home or workplace should evacuate and then call 911 from outside.

The smell of rotten eggs or old socks is often the first indicator of a gas leak because a substance called mercaptan is added to natural gases – which are odourless – to make it easier to detect a leak, Wood said.

According to FortisBC, mercaptan comes from natural compounds such as hydrogen sulphide and gives natural gas a strong smell, even in small concentrations.

“So if you catch a whiff of something that smells like boiled eggs that have been left in your lunch bag for a few days, it’s a signal to leave the area and call for help,” the gas company’s website says.

For tips and information about gas leaks, visit fortisbc.com.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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