Gas line break in downtown Winnipeg triggers mass evacuation, disrupts traffic

WINNIPEG — Several buildings in downtown Winnipeg had to be evacuated on Thursday when a contractor accidentally tore open a natural gas line.

A number of locations near Portage and Main were cleared out, including an underground shopping mall and one side of a city block near the busy intersection.

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City officials say police rerouted traffic while firefighters and others searched offices and shops floor by floor to ensure everyone got out.

Manitoba Hydro crews eventually shut off the gas and evacuees were allowed to return to their workplaces in stages to collect their belongings and get into parkades.

Hydro says 45 customers in a wide area of the downtown core were without gas service during the break.

The Crown utility posted to Twitter early Friday morning that service had been restored.

Hydro spokesman Bruce Owen said Thursday that the leak is under investigation.

He said thousands of people were inconvenienced, adding that “inadvertent nicks" to underground gas lines happen too often in Manitoba. (CTV Winnipeg)

© Virden Empire-Advance

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