NEWS

Gas flows again to some communities after pipeline blast

01/28/2014 08:45 EST | Updated 03/30/2014 05:59 EDT
Slowly, natural gas has been flowing back into southeast Manitoba communities affected by a weekend pipeline explosion.

Service has now been restored to people in Ste. Agathe, Niverville, New Bothwell, Kleefeld, Otterburne and Marchand — communities north of the damaged section of pipeline, according to Manitoba Hydro.

​Hydro crews are going door-to-door in those communities to make sure gas is restored properly and relight pilot lights if needed.

People south of the rupture, in the Rural Municipality of De Salaberry — St. Malo, St. Pierre-Jolys, Grunthal and Dufrost — should expect to have their gas service back by midday Tuesday.

About 4,000 natural gas customers lost their gas supply after a section of pipeline, owned by TransCanada Pipelines, exploded at about 1 a.m. CT Saturday near Otterburne, 50 kilometres south of Winnipeg.

While gas furnaces have not been working, the weather has been bone-chilling cold.

Overnight temperatures have dropped to –35 C and daytime highs have struggled to reach –20 C. But with the extreme wind chill values, it felt more like –45.

For some, there's also been a big impact on their business.

Joe Gagne's family owns the St. Pierre-Jolys bakery and has had to tell his 17 employees not to come into work for the past three days.

"We can't pay them so all of my employees are all off.  I mean, they can't work because we don't have any work," he said.

“Our ovens and everything run with gas. So we can't do nothing. We can't bake anything."

Gagne says the bakery could lose up to $10,000 because it hasn’t been able to operate.

About 25 restaurants they supply will again be without bread and sweets today.

Officials with TransCanada Pipelines are investigating the rupture and say they still don't know what caused it.

In the meantime, they have created a bypass around the damaged section to restore the gas service.

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