Natural gas leak shuts down Main St. West

Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services fire Chief Tom Cartwright, in black on the left, and Capt. Doug Steers, right, talk with Enbridge Gas workers on Main St. West Thursday night.

Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services fire Chief Tom Cartwright, in black on the left, and Capt. Doug Steers, right, talk with Enbridge Gas workers on Main St. West Thursday night.

Main St. West in Port Colborne was shutdown for more than two hours Thursday night due to a strong smell of natural gas in the area.

Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services fire Chief Tom Cartwright said firefighters determined the smell was coming from a catch basin on the north side of Main St. West between Tim Hortons and a duplex to the east.

“The initial response from the gas company is they have determined there is a natural gas problem in the area. They were able to detect it in the sanitary and storm sewers.”

Firefighters also detected gas in catch basins on the street, both upstream and downstream of the area with the strongest smell.

Cartwright said the concern was the natural gas could filter into homes in the area and create a potential for an explosion.

“If it gets into a basement area and there’s an open flame, it could ignite.”

Firefighters, the chief said, checked homes in the area and had found no signs of gas.

Using detectors, firefighters found levels of gas concentration in the storm and sanitary sewers to be at 1.8 per cent

The explosive level of natural gas ranges between a concentration level of four per cent to eight per cent

Whether the area would be evacuated, Carwtight said at the scene, was up to Enbridge Gas.

When the gas company arrived on scene and started to investigate the source of the leak, they told the chief an evacuation was not necessary.

Tim Hortons was asked to stay open to be used by emergency workers as a possible command centre if the situation required.

City of Port Colborne operations staff put up barriers at Steele and Elm Sts. and the side streets off of Main St. West in between to keep vehicles from the area.

Niagara Regional Police were also on scene and pulled over one driver who went past the barriers.

Cartwright said Niagara EMS was notified of the situation, as was Niagara Region, because Main St. West is a regional road.

Ron Hanson, the city’s director of engineering and operations, was on scene, and Port Colborne Mayor John Maloney had been notified as well.

Enbridge workers used a backhoe to dig up part of the sidewalk between Tim Hortons and the duplex on the east side.

Cartwright said the gas company had isolated the leak to the service going into the duplex.

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