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Emergency crews respond to explosion near Fort Saskatchewan

A gas line was hit near Highway 15 and 116 Street near Fort Saskatchewan on March 4, 2015. Credit: Google Earth

EDMONTON — People were asked to avoid the area around the Heartland project for several hours Wednesday after a gas line was hit north of Fort Saskatchewan.

The Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department and RCMP responded to a gas leak near 119 Street and Highway 15 at approximately 11:55 a.m. There was a fireball at the scene but it quickly extinguished itself.

Mayor Gale Katchur sent a message on Twitter: “[Gas line] explosion north of #fortsask Heartland 1 bldg. Avoid the area. Information will be released when we have more information.”
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The blast was felt by residents shortly before noon.

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One resident reported feeling their whole house shake and the doors and windows rattle.

Highway 15 was temporarily closed between 114 and 119 Street. Traffic was diverted to 99 Avenue in both directions. The highway was reopened shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The city of Fort Saskatchewan said a contractor working in the area was excavating to install water lines and accidentally pierced a hydrogen gas line. The operator was not injured and no one else was involved.

“We are thankful that the incident was quickly contained and no one was injured,” said Fire Chief James Clark.

Clark says there are lots of pipelines in the area and the city is working with companies to determine what type of gas they are dealing with.

The area is part of Alberta’s so-called Industrial Heartland – Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region.

With files from The Canadian Press

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