Earlier this month, with the one-year anniversary of the Sunrise Propane gas explosions fresh in their minds, Roncesvalles residents watched behind barriers as firefighters and construction crews rushed to repair a gas line rupture, damaged during the reconstruction. Many were curious to know how close they just came to being engulfed in giant fireball of death. The answer, according to Councillor Gord Perks is: not close at all.
Councillor Perks said that whenever workers get close to an underground utility, as marked on the road, the heavy digging stops and workers switch to hand tools. Occasionally, the underground utilities are mapped incorrectly, or the pipe lies closer to the surface than it is supposed to be. So crews are always prepared for just such an accident, wrote Councillor Perks:
“Work stops. Equipment is turned off. Firefighter are called urgently to the scene. The fracture is repaired.
“Experience shows that the gas vents safely because it is does not build up to dangerous levels in an enclosed space. Think of the home safety tip to open your windows if you smell gas in your home.
“In the case of the recent incident, the pipe that was struck was an old disconnected service pipe. Because it was still attached to the main it caused a rupture in the main. When a service is disconnected, it is supposed to be disconnected from the main. We don’t know why this wasn’t done when the original disconnection was performed years ago.
“I wish higher standards for maintenance and record keeping had been required in previous decades. As you can see the City approaches this historical deficiency with several layers of safety planning. In this incident the protocols were followed and the incident was safely contained.”
If you have further questions about reconstruction safety, please contact Councillor Gord Perks’ office. The City asks that you to bring any concerns you may have to the City’s attention right away so that coordination with the Contractor can take place. You may obtain emergency service (24 hours a day) by calling 416-338-8888.