Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Natural Gas Fire Still Burning in Saskatchewan Two Days After an Explosion

Almost 48 hours after an initial explosion on Saturday October 11, a natural gas fire continues to burn about 70 km northeast of Saskatoon, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The incident occurred at a pumping station that is owned by TransGas, a subsidiary of SaskEnergy.

As part of the emergency setup when one of the seven caverns of natural gas exploded and caught fire, the remaining six caverns vented their climate change causing methane into the atmosphere.

The flames are more than 18 meters high and although fire crews are on site, they are not able to do much. Natural gas fires cannot be extinguished with water so it may be a while before the inferno burns itself out and crews can get close enough to shut the valve.

No one was on site at the time of the explosion, people are normally only present during cold winter months. A three kilometer radius (just over one mile) around the blaze has been evacuated. Six farms are affected and local roadways have been closed. The twelve people who were forced from their homes on Saturday have yet to be allowed to return.

This is not the first time that SaskEnergy has had to contend with an uncontainable gas leak. However, they don't know what went wrong to start the fire, and there are concerns that turning off the wellhead could create another problem. Workers for the gas company claimed to be looking for "intelligence" to better understand the incident.

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