NEWS

'Significant progress' at natural gas fire near Prud'homme

10/13/2014 07:11 EDT | Updated 12/13/2014 05:59 EST
Emergency crews working on a gas fire at a TransGas pumping station near Prud'homme made 'significant progress' overnight.

"We've been able to make significant progress at Prud'homme," said Dave Burdeniuk, a SaskEnergy spokesperson, in an interview with CBC this morning.

"(We) turned off a side valve on the well head and almost instantly the flame went from a very intense, almost 60 foot (18 metres) flame down to about 12 feet (four metres)."

Burdeniuk said the next step is to extinguish secondary fires and secure the well head. The evacuation order keeping 13 people out of four homes is still in effect, he said.

On Monday specialized firefighters, employed by Safety Boss, suited up in specialized gear and approached the fire with the intention of turning off the natural gas valves.

- 'Just a big ball of fire,' evacuee describes Prud'Homme explosion 

But once the crews got close to the blaze they had reservations about their plan and firefighters retreated to consult with the engineers at the command centre.

Burdeniuk said it takes a long time to prepare for the task as several water cannons and trucks need to be refilled in order to protect the crews as they walk into the wall of fire that is burning between 815 C and 1100 C​.

For the time being they have an ample water supply to draw from; a farmer's unwanted slough nearby.

"It's a little unnerving to see that fire burning," Burdeniuk said on Monday afternoon.

Emergency officials are asking people to stay away from the fire and for residents from four evacuated farms close to the burning natural gas storage facility to remain away from their homes.

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