A man was killed when a pipeline was ruptured in a field near Turner Valley where men were digging holes.
Turner Valley Fire Chief Glenn Baxter said emergency crews responded to a report of a gas leak - later upgraded to a possible man down – at 1:36 p.m. on Nov. 7 by one of the individuals in a field where men were digging.
The incident occurred east of the Highway 549 and 762 junction.
“There was a number of bystanders, as well as a person down inside the incident area near the hole and the pipeline rupture,” said Baxter.
“Being known of the hazard, we took precautions to ensure we were aware of whether there was sour gas concerns or not. Using our protective equipment, we entered and removed the patient to a safer area to begin medical assistance.”
Baxter said emergency crews were unable to revive the victim, who was overcome by what emergency personnel suspect was natural gas.
“There was a number of people on the site, I’m not sure if they were a contractor or property owner,” he said. “They were using equipment to augur holes.”
Turner Valley, Black Diamond and Foothills fire departments established hot, warm and cold zones – allowing only personnel with proper protective equipment into the hot zone, backup crews to provide medical assistance in the warm zone and the remainder of those present in the cold zone.
“When we arrived we had to do some immediate education to get everybody into the cold zone,” he said, adding there were people near the deceased when they arrived. “The hazard was still present when we arrived. People nearby a danger zone like that is always a concern for us.”
The leaking gas was soon contained by ATCO.
Baxter said no one else was injured and that the incident didn’t occur near any structures or residences.
Evidence at the scene indicated that Alberta One-Call Corporation had been contacted before digging, said Baxter, adding he’s unsure of the reason behind the ruptured pipeline.
“We did see indications that the underground utilities had been marked,” he said. “I’m not sure as to why the incident happened at this point.”
In addition to expressing the importance of calling or clicking before digging near gas lines, Baxter said it’s also imperitive that people don’t put themselves in danger if a leak was to occur.
“It’s a natural instinct that you want to help but there’s a reason that person went down and you don’t know that reason,” he said. “Stay away, call 911 and don’t try to provide assistance because you could become another victim. By putting yourself in harms way you might end up with additional patients.”