A construction worker was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and burns to his face after a severed gas line sparked a fire on Broughton Street Wednesday morning.
Firefighters were called to 765 Broughton Street at around 11 a.m. for a report of a gas explosion followed by a fire. Twenty-one personnel in total responded.
When firefighters arrived, smoke could be seen coming from the roof of the five-storey building attached to the Greater Victoria Public Library central branch.
Firefighters used a lift on a truck to access the roof at the Greater Victoria Public Library building and the building beside it. Crews also went to the fifth floor to work on putting out the fire through the ceiling area.
The fire was out around 45 minutes later. The gas was also shut off.
Just after 12 p.m., firefighters had left the scene. Victoria Public Works crews were called down to de-ice the road as the water used to put out the fire was freezing in the street.
According to office workers in the building, the construction worker who was injured accidentally cut a gas line and the gas ignited.
Victoria Battalion Chief Wayne Moody confirmed construction workers were doing a large renovation in the building when one of them cut through a pressurized gas line, which led to a small explosion and large gas plume fire.
“Once the gas line was cut, it caused a fire and the roof caught on fire,” Moody said.
Ambulance crews attended to the injured worker who had light burns on his face and smoke inhalation.
Moody said all Victoria Fire Department resources were used and the Saanich Fire Department was put on standby.
“Any call like this is challenging due to the size of the building and the number of people involved. It is an office we’re dealing with, probably a 1,000 displaced people right now,” Moody said.
The fire temporarily closed Broughton Street between Blanshard Avenue and Douglas Street. Due to the cold weather, Victoria Emergency Management staff contacted Christ Church Cathedral and set up a reception area for office workers in the building that were evacuated to their meeting point at Pioneer Square during the fire.
A fire investigator determined the cause of the fire to be accidental. Approximately a 10′ by 10′ portion of the roof was damaged and will require repairs. The cost of the damage is $50,000, the Victoria Fire Department said.
The building and road have reopened.