In a string of tweets at the beginning of the month, Manitoba Hydro offered a warning to Manitobans after a Portage la Prairie man hit a gas line.
The tweets showcased how the Portage resident should have gone online or called Hydro to check if it was safe to dig a fence pole.
⚠️ A natural gas safety thread 🧵— Manitoba Hydro (@manitobahydro) November 3, 2022
AKA a don’t be this guy thread.
On Oct. 21 a Portage la Prairie man was pounding in metal fence posts along his driveway. He had not contacted @ClickB4UDigMB pic.twitter.com/iA8eJ3BsBQ
Media Relations Officer at Manitoba Hydro, Bruce Owen, spoke about this situation.
"Honestly, it happens all too frequently in this province," continues Owen. "A gentleman was building up sinking metal fence posts along his driveway and pounding them into the ground, and one of them hit the gas line that serves his house."
Owen says that the escaping natural gas would usually smell like rotten eggs. However, this man didn't smell anything for whatever reason, so he thought he could safely level off his fence posts with a grinder, which caused sparks and the fire.
"Essentially, part of his yard caught fire as the gas burned off. The Fire Department was called. We were called, and in order to fix it, we had to take approximately eight other customers out and disconnected them as we repaired everything and made it safe."
Owen stresses that this could have stopped if the customer had gone online or phoned Hydro.
"When you're planning a home yard project, big or small, and it involves digging, it's important that you're aware of what's underground. Each day there are more underground utilities, be it gas, be it electrical, or be it telecommunications. It's important to call or just go online. Click before you dig."
Media Relations Officer adds that by not doing your diligence, you could also be putting your neighbours at risk.
"In these types of instances where people don't pay attention, and they nick a gas line and gas escapes, not only is there smell to notice it, the gas also travels very, very low to the ground and it gets into the sewer system. It can travel into the sewer system and opt into people's basements. And it's highly, highly flammable. It just takes a single spark to ignite it."