UPDATED – Community questions fire departments response to Gas Leak (video)

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Sault Fire Services is on scene of a gas leak in the city's west end, June 30, 2022 (Dan Gray/SaultOnline.com)

UPDATE – Sault Fire Services responded with this explanation shortly before 1 p.m. July 5, 2022.

“In response to your request and the incident you are inquiring about, we had a new recruit in the communications room at the time of the call. There was uncertainty about the call. The situation has been rectified internally to ensure this type of incident does not occur again. Sault Fire Services encourages patrons to call in the case of all emergencies related to our department.” – Sault Fire Services Public Information Officer Aaron Gravelle.

 

Last Thursday, Sault Fire Services responded to a gas leak shortly after 10 p.m. on Baseline Road in Sault Ste. Marie.

When went live from the scene, community members reached out to us saying they heard the leak way before anyone got there and had attempted to alert the fire department.

One reader provided us with a video of the leak they say was taken around 9 p.m.-

Another said her and her friend called the event in at “8:30 exactly” and felt ignored.

“We heard it driving by & called right away , we had to explain & google where it was for them cause they didn’t know about it & then eventually he found it & just said “ it’s a compressor that’s all it is”,” said Brittney, the one in the car who made the call. “It’s in a 4 wheeler trail, I have driven by 100 times on the bikes & never heard that, I heard it clear as day with my windows up, radio on and ac on.”

Her friend who was riding with her verified her statement.

“Mind blown. We told them exactly what it was and he played it off as a “compressor”,” said Tamara. “I’m just glad no one got hurt or I’d be so pissed. We called them at exactly 8:30 and it took this long? Brutal”

Enbridge Gas released a statement to us explaining what happened that evening.

“Last night at 11:00 p.m., Enbridge Gas was called to a damaged line on Baseline Road in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario due to a faulty gasket. Enbridge Gas secured the area, repairs are complete. No customers we’re impacted,” said the statement from Leanne McNaughton
Senior Communications Advisor for Enbridge.

As we were on scene within moments of fire services we can verify Enbridge was also on scene before the 11 p.m. time the statement but it was their technicians that turned the gas off shortly after 11 p.m.

Brittney explained that her and her friend were on the phone for over 15 minutes trying to explain what was happening and is happy no one was hurt.

“He just slushed it off & said “don’t worry bout it so that was that,” But we talked with them for over 20 mins explaining where it was,” said Brittney. “That it was some kind of fumes coming out of a pipe or a wire & how loud it was & they didn’t care like I said thank god nothing blew up & no one got hurt.”

One of the things new firefighters must do when they are hired on at Sault Fire Services is spend time answering phones in the phone room. Almost every firefighter hired on spends between 3-6 months doing this according to multiple sources with intricate knowledge of the service.

The reason is to show them by dispatching the “lay of the land” as one individual told our organization.

We reached out to Sault Fire Services and the City of Sault Ste. Marie for an explanation and received this response Tuesday Morning from Aaron Gravelle, Public Education Officer for Sault Fire Services.

“In response to your request and the incident you are inquiring about, we had a new recruit in the communications room at the time of the call. There was uncertainty about the call,” said Gravelle. “The situation has been rectified internally to ensure this type of incident does not occur again. Sault Fire Services encourages patrons to call in the case of all emergencies related to our department.”

At the time of writing neither organization has released a statement.

We will update this story if a statement is made available.