Two hotels in Campbell River had to be evacuated due to a gas leak.
Shortly before 12 p.m. Thursday, members of the Campbell River Fire Department responded to the 500-block of Island Highway South, near the Ramada, after receiving reports about a natural gas line break.
Bruce Holbrook, captain with the Campbell River Fire Department, said when crews arrived on scene, what they found was that a main gas line had been damaged and was leaking.
“It turned out to be a main line that had been cut through by an excavator,” said Holbrook.
As a precaution, said two nearby hotels — the Ramada and Heron’s Landing — were evacuated and both directions of Island Highway South between Rockland Road and First Avenue were shut down for hours.
“We closed Island Highway and we had to evacuate two hotels nearby just to ensure the safety of all the occupants,” Holbrook said.
Evacuees were put on BC Transit buses where they remained until it was clear that the situation would take a while to resolve.
“Whenever we need to take residents out of a house or an apartment or a hotel, we need to put them somewhere, especially with today’s rain. So, we brought in a couple of city buses and loaded them up on there,” said Holbrook. “Then, when we found out from Fortis BC that it was going to be awhile, we actually transported them to a nearby community centre and they hung out there while Fortis was able to get the gas shut down.”
Holbrook said no one was hurt during the incident.
Lauren Lea, spokesperson for Fortis BC, said their crews arrived on scene at around 12:45 p.m. and began the process of shutting the line down. She said the line has now been shut down and work is underway to repair it.
“Our crews have the gas leak under control and are starting repairs,” she said. “They estimate that it will take about three hours to complete the repairs.”
The highway reopened following the shutdown of the gas line, according to Lea, who said the incident highlights the importance of knowing the area before digging.
“This incident is a good reminder to always call ahead before you dig just to be able to find the location of underground utilities and gas lines,” she said.