Crews in the town of Princeton, B.C., have been working around the clock since Monday’s storm, trying to restore key infrastructure to resume services for residents.
Princeton’s mayor, Spencer Coyne, said FortisBC has received the green light to restore gas for the town.
“FortisBC has been given authorization to cross the bridge by the Ministry of Transportation. So hopefully we will get gas up and running as soon as humanly possible,” said Coyne.
“It’s starting to snow, we need heat as fast as we can. Without heat, we are going to have broken pipes and families that will need to be removed from homes.”
The town’s sewer system is still a concern. However, over the last 24 hours, the situation has improved a little.
“The sewer system is running; we have had a bit of a reprieve. The water levels came down, probably because of the cold weather,” Coyne said.
“We have a bit of a play in there and it’s taken pressure off, which is good because that was our main concern.”
The water system for the town is also being repaired as there are multiple breaks in the system.
Officials have isolated most of the breaks, but the biggest issue right now is a major break in one of the six lines that runs across the Tulameen River.
There’s no timeline on when the water system will be fixed to resume running water for homes.
The mayor is also asking residents that do still have running water to use it sparingly.
Coyne says the town is not out of the woods just yet. He says the next few days will be critical.
“We are right on the edge. The next 24-48 hours are probably make or break for us. If we can keep the sewer system running — like I said, we had a reprieve there, water levels went down. If that continues, we might be OK there,” said Coyne.
“The big win for us is FortisBC bringing the heat back in.”
Most of the flood water has receded in the downtown area.
One resident, Aaron Dean, never left his home despite the evacuation order.
“The Tulameen River was on our front street. We had minutes before the water was a foot deep in our yard,” Dean told Global News on Thursday.
“Luckily, I had several pumps from my mining job, and we have had four pumps running non-stop for 30-plus hours now.”
Even with the pumps, the flooding of Dean’s basement was inevitable, which took about four feet of water.
“My hot water tank was floating when I went down there.”
Dean says he will stay at his home and will continue to try and save what he can.