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Updated: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 15:40:41 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Natural gas leak closes off part of south end Halifax



Natural gas leak closes off part of south end Halifax

Halifax Regional Police closed off part of south end Halifax because of a natural gas leak near South Park and Fenwick streets on Tuesday.

Halifax Fire Chief Doug Trussler said crews were working on a gas line when it was struck and ruptured. He said there was a two-inch gash in the gas line.

While the gas had been shut off, officials on the scene said it could take a few hours to purge the pipe and repair the hole.

All pedestrian and vehicle traffic was shut down in the area from Morris to Victoria Road and from Tower Road to Queen Street. Officers were on scene directing traffic.

That leak was fixed by mid-afternoon and power was turned back on in the neighbourhood.

Electricity had been cut off in the area as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of fire. More than 7,300 Nova Scotia Power customers had been without power.

Peter Graham, spokesman for Capital Health, said both the IWK Health Centre and the Victoria General site have had power restored and are now off emergency power. The Halifax Infirmary site had been switched to a power feed from the north end of the city.

Graham also said surgeries scheduled at the VG had been placed on hold, but that all services will now resume as usual.

There were reports that some people were stuck in elevators in a few buildings in the area.

Metro Transit provided air conditioned "comfort buses" for people who were forced to leave buildings as a result of the gas leak.

'Really intense' hiss sound

Thompson Rahr, who lives on Fenwick Street, said he witnessed the leak.

"I saw a couple of paddy wagons show up, lights streaming, sirens going," he said. "The cops jump out and I’m looking around wondering what it was.

"It seems to be they were looking upwards where they’re doing natural gas work on South Park Street, right at the end of Fenwick. There was, in the background, kind of what sounded to be a fan coming out of, almost, a restaurant, like just a steady, strong hum that came along.

“It’s a really strong hiss, it almost compares exactly to a fan on the side of a restaurant, you know how they’re blowing that warmer air out of the kitchen or something like that? It’s just a very strong ‘hiss,’ almost but not as strong as a hiss, it’s just more hum — but really, really intense.”

Thompson also described what the leak looks like.

“I can see all of the dust that’s around the worksite. Basically it’s such a strong push that it’s blowing dust up in the air,” he said.

Just before 2 p.m. crews were called to another gas leak in the Gaston Road area of Dartmouth, but it was soon fixed. Sackville Trenching was doing work on water lines when an excavator hit a gas line.

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