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TransCanada investigating cause of huge pipeline explosion at Emerson border

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/9/2015 (1143 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The cause of a natural-gas pipeline rupture near Emerson which forced two Manitoba families to evacuate their home remains under investigation.

A spokeswoman with TransCanada, which operates the pipeline just south of the Canada-U.S. border in Kittson County, Minn., said Monday the company continues to conduct “a detailed investigation to determine the cause of the incident.”

The rupture occurred Saturday night around 8:30 p.m., sending flames shooting up into the air.

The nearby local volunteer fire department in Emerson was called out to the fire, said Emerson fire chief Jeff French.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/9/2015 (1143 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The cause of a natural-gas pipeline rupture near Emerson which forced two Manitoba families to evacuate their home remains under investigation.

A spokeswoman with TransCanada, which operates the pipeline just south of the Canada-U.S. border in Kittson County, Minn., said Monday the company continues to conduct "a detailed investigation to determine the cause of the incident."

A ruptured gas pipeline south of the Manitoba border near Emerson sent flames shooting up into the air Saturday night.

JEFF FRENCH / SUBMITTED PHOTO

A ruptured gas pipeline south of the Manitoba border near Emerson sent flames shooting up into the air Saturday night.

The rupture occurred Saturday night around 8:30 p.m., sending flames shooting up into the air.

The nearby local volunteer fire department in Emerson was called out to the fire, said Emerson fire chief Jeff French.

"You could see it from miles away," French said, describing flames six to 10 metres high and three to five metres wide near the site of the explosion.

Two homes on the Canadian side of the border were evacuated and residents were allowed back inside by 11 p.m. Saturday.

It’s not clear how many homes were evacuated across the border; there were no reported injuries.

TransCanada pipeline officials responded to the site of the rupture, which was the site of the St. Vincent Compressor Station in Kittson County. The fire was extinguished around 1:10 a.m., a TransCanada official said, after the facility was shut down and the gas valves turned off.

Doug Johnston, a volunteer firefighter and councillor for Emerson-Franklin, said they received the call around 9 p.m. and rushed to the scene, not knowing if it was on the Canadian or American side of the border.

As they were leaving town, they could see a "huge flame in the air," he said.

"We could see it as we left town and we were 10 miles away," Johnston said.

The pipeline explosion was reported to Emerson firefighters around 8:30 p.m.

JEFF FRENCH / SUBMITTED PHOTO

The pipeline explosion was reported to Emerson firefighters around 8:30 p.m.

Firefighters have books which tell them how far to stay away in these sorts of events, and seeing the flames, the crews knew they could not go much further, he explained.

"Seeing the flames, we knew that there was no way any firefighter would be able to go within a mile of that," he said.

En route, they evacuated two farmhouses which they felt were too close to the flames.

The Kittson County sheriff’s office and their emergency services team responded once it was determined it was on the American side of the border.

"They handled the scene from about 11 p.m. on and we went back to our stations," Johnston said.

The Kittson County sheriff’s office deferred all questions on the incident to TransCanada.

katie.may@freepress.mb.ca

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca

Katie May

Katie May
Justice reporter

Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.

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History

Updated on Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 1:35 AM CDT: Adds photos, adds detail.

September 6, 2015 at 4:33 AM: Adds details from TransCanada.

2:29 PM: Writethru.

3:15 PM: History of explosions added.

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