A pipeline explosion near to Otterburne, Manitoba on Saturday night has left more than 4,000 residents without power or heat as temperatures reach a low of -20 C. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who carried out an investigation into the explosion, say they do not believe that foul play was involved.
Shortly after midnight on Saturday, the Manitoba pipeline exploded about 50 kilometers south of Winnipeg, leading to massive power outages as the fire burned for more than 12 hours.
A local state of emergency was released via a news release in the Rural Municipality of Hanover, confirming that the gas outage was expected to last in excess of 72 hours.
Katie Nicholson from CBC reported on the weather in the area:
“We are in the midst of another temperature drop. A bit of an Arctic front is moving in here, and to the south of us, there is a blizzard system, so people in this area are going to get a nasty, cold, winter storm day.”
Nicki Albis, a spokesperson for the emergency relief effort, said following the pipeline explosion:
“We know it’s cold and people may be concerned about that but we are on the job here. Everyone here’s communicating well. We have a great group of people at the site and in the communities who have set up their emergency operation centres to handle this dilemma.”
The RCMP responded after midnight to a “loud explosion,” which turned out to be the Manitoba pipeline explosion.
Paul Rawluk, who lives nearby, said:
“As we got closer, we could see these massive 200 to 300 metre high flames just shooting out of the ground and it literally sounded like a jet plane. And that’s the thing that really got us, was the sound of it.”
It remains to be seen how long the 4,000 local residents will be without power as a result of the pipeline explosion as emergency teams work around the clock to restore the situation in the area to normal.