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Downtown gas leak caused by vandals could have 'blown them to smithereens'

Feb 14 2012

Vandals are believed to have caused a gas leak in downtown Victoria early Tuesday morning in the 1400 block of Blanshard Street.

Firefighters arrived on the scene around 4:45 a.m. and waited for Fortis B.C. staff who arrived shortly after, identifying a gas leak behind the Emanu-el Congregation Temple.

Witnesses say they saw two drunken people jumping on the meter, said Sgt. Mike Russell, spokesman for Victoria Police Department.

He said police are lucky to be proceeding with a mischief investigation, rather than “two people being blown to smithereens.”

Fire fighters detected gas in the air when they arrived and put calls out to neighbouring businesses as they blocked off the immediate area.

“It wasn’t a huge leak, but we called some references we had for the area,” said fire fighter Matt Sharpe.

Fortis B.C. staff identified the leak when they arrived on scene and immediately shut off the gas line. They spent the morning repairing the meter.

“We treat gas leaks seriously, so when we arrive on site, our first priority is to make the situation safe,” said Fortis spokeswoman Kirsten Walker.

Police have very few leads. The best description they have is that one person was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt.

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