Gas leak puts Lacombe school and seniors complex on alert

A natural gas line was struck in north Lacombe on Monday afternoon, putting a nearby seniors complex, school and residents on alert.

City of Lacombe firefighters stand at the ready as workers with Atco Gas work to shut off the gas supply to a leaking  gas line on Cobb Street in Lacombe on Monday afternoon. A track hoe operator cut a three inch gas line while digging a residential basement.

City of Lacombe firefighters stand at the ready as workers with Atco Gas work to shut off the gas supply to a leaking gas line on Cobb Street in Lacombe on Monday afternoon. A track hoe operator cut a three inch gas line while digging a residential basement.

LACOMBE — A natural gas line was struck in north Lacombe on Monday afternoon, putting a nearby seniors complex, school and residents on alert.

Police barricaded roads within a three-block radius of where a track hoe ruptured the line while working on a home under construction in the College Heights community.

Nearby residents were alerted and given the option to evacuate, said Sgt. Steve Murray of the Lacombe Police Service.

But police decided it was safer to advise seniors living in nearby Manor at Royal Oak Village to stay inside the building, he added.

All windows and doors were closed and the air conditioning was turned off at the seniors facility so outside air was not being drawn in.

Police also told staff at Terrace Ridge School shortly after 3 p.m. to have parents come pick up students who live in the area of the gas leak.

“Children are curious. We don’t want children riding their bikes or walking through a potentially very dangerous area,” Murray said.

Only between eight and 12 students who attend the kindergarten to Grade 7 school had to wait for their parents to pick them up, said Larry Jacobs, superintendent of Wolf Creek Public Schools.

Lacombe Police, Fire and EMS all responded to the incident, as did Alberta Sheriffs, Sylvan Lake EMS and Red Deer Rural RCMP.

“We don’t want to take any chances,” Murray said of all the resources on hand.

Around 4 p.m., ATCO Gas was crimping the line on either end of the puncture to kill the gas leak.

Murray anticipated that it would take at least a couple of hours to stop the leak and re-open the roads.

There were no injuries.

Representatives from Royal Oak could not be reached for comment on Monday night.

ptrotter@bprda.wpengine.com